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Schumer: Congress must stop reported ZTE deal 'in its tracks'

Schumer: Congress must stop reported ZTE deal 'in its tracks'
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerMcConnell: Power-sharing deal can proceed after Manchin, Sinema back filibuster Justice watchdog to probe whether officials sought to interfere with election Capitol insurrection fallout: A PATRIOT Act 2.0? MORE (D-N.Y.) is urging Congress to squash any attempt by the Trump administration to save Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE amid reports that the U.S. and Beijing have reached an agreement.

"Simply a fine and changing board members would not protect America’s economic or national security, and would be a huge victory for President Xi [Jinping], and a dramatic retreat by President TrumpDonald TrumpSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses Nurse to be tapped by Biden as acting surgeon general: report Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency MORE. Both parties in Congress should come together to stop this deal in its tracks," Schumer said in a statement.

“If the administration goes through with this reported deal, President Trump would be helping make China great again," the Senate Democratic leader added.

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Schumer's statement came after Reuters, citing a senior congressional aide, reported that a deal has been reached to lift a ban that prevents ZTE from buying U.S. products.

As part of the agreement, according to Reuters, ZTE will have to pay a fine, place American compliance offers in its company and change its management team.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not confirm the deal, telling Reuters: “We’ll let you know when we have an announcement on that front."

The potential agreement comes as reports have been circulating for days that the Trump administration and Beijing were negotiating a deal to save the Chinese telecom giant.

The Commerce Department imposed the ban and sanctions after ZTE violated U.S. sanctions by selling equipment to North Korea and Iran.

Trump said on Tuesday that there was no deal but added that he may ask for a fine of roughly $1.3 billion, new management for the telecom giant and for China to buy more American products.

And Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinOn The Money: Senate confirms Yellen as first female Treasury secretary | Biden says he's open to tighter income limits for stimulus checks | Administration will look to expedite getting Tubman on bill Senate confirms Yellen as first female Treasury secretary Biden administration will look to expedite getting Tubman on bill MORE and Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossOn The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits Census Bureau racing to complete noncitizen data, watchdog says MORE came to Capitol Hill on Wednesday evening to update senators on the status of the negotiations with China and ZTE.

Both Mnuchin and Ross declined to comment after they left the closed-door meeting, but GOP Sen. John CornynJohn CornynMcConnell: Power-sharing deal can proceed after Manchin, Sinema back filibuster Manchin vows that he won't vote to kill filibuster 'under any condition' Leahy, not Roberts, to preside over impeachment trial MORE (Texas) told reporters that the administration seemed "pretty far along" in the talks.

The administration's negotiations over ZTE have sparked backlash from Democrats as well as some Republicans.

Cornyn said earlier this week that a bill that includes language restricting the the ability of the Commerce Department to lift penalties against ZTE if they aren't following the law will be in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an annual policy bill.

"It's been adopted in the NDAA and it will remain as part of the base bill," he said. "I expect it to be part of the NDAA."