Lawmakers unveil bipartisan legislation to restrict Huawei access to banks
A bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday unveiled legislation to restrict the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei from accessing the U.S. financial system.
The bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sens. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) would implement sanctions against Huawei and “other untrustworthy Chinese 5G producers who engage in economic espionage” against the U.S., according to a release from Cotton’s office.
“Foreign companies that spy on the U.S. and violate our laws should face severe consequences. Huawei is a repeat offender,” Van Hollen said.
Cotton called Huawei “an arm of Chinese intelligence” as the lawmakers seek to add the company to the Treasury Department’s Specially Designated Nationals list.
“For too long, the United States has allowed one of our biggest adversaries into the most sensitive areas of our lives, but that must end,” Scott said.
Similar legislation has been introduced in the House by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.). Gallagher and Cotton have both long raised concerns about the U.S.’s use of the Chinese company’s services.
“We cannot allow Huawei and the Chinese Communist Party to have access to Americans’ personal data and our country’s most sensitive defense systems. We must address the dire threat these Chinese companies pose to our national security,” Cotton said.
The FBI found earlier this year that Huawei equipment placed on cell towers in the Midwest could disrupt Department of Defense communications, including some related to the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal.
And in October, the Department of Justice charged two suspected Chinese intelligence officers with attempting to obstruct a criminal investigation into Huawei.
The Federal Communications Commission last month banned the sale of Huawei communications equipment, citing a need to ensure “that untrustworthy communications equipment is not authorized for use within our borders.”
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