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Senators offer bipartisan bill to help US firms remove Huawei equipment from networks

Senators offer bipartisan bill to help US firms remove Huawei equipment from networks
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A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation Wednesday to help U.S. firms remove Chinese telecom equipment from companies like Huawei if it's deemed a national security threat.

The legislation would require fifth generation, or 5G, wireless networks be free of equipment or services provided by Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE. It also would establish a “supply chain trust fund” program to help U.S. firms remove Huawei equipment from their networks.

The measure would require the establishment of an “interagency program,” led by the Department of Homeland Security, to share information with communications companies on risks and vulnerabilities of networks.

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The bill was introduced by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerSen. Manchin paves way for a telehealth revolution Senate confirms Radhika Fox to lead EPA's water office Overnight Defense: Pentagon details military construction projects getting .2B restored from wall funds | Biden chooses former commander to lead Navy | Bill seeks to boost visa program for Afghans who helped US MORE (R-Miss.), Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerOn The Money: Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle | White House rules out gas tax hike Democrats introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for government discrimination Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle MORE (D-Va.) and Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonThe Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? Court fines baker 0 for refusing to make gender transition cake Nikki Haley warns Republicans on China: 'If they take Taiwan, it's all over' MORE (R-Ark.), with Sens. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyDemocrats introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for government discrimination Hillicon Valley: Senate unanimously confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar | Scrutiny mounts on Microsoft's surveillance technology | Senators unveil bill to crack down on cyber criminals Biden signs Juneteenth bill: 'Great nations don't ignore their most painful moments' MORE (D-Mass.) and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanSenate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior Concerns grow over China's Taiwan plans China conducts amphibious landing drill near Taiwan after senators' visit MORE (R-Alaska) as co-sponsors.

Wicker, whose committee has examined 5G security in the recent months, said in a statement that “5G networks need to be robust and secure, and not rely on equipment or services that pose a national security risk.”

Warner cited national security threats from Huawei and ZTE in highlighting the importance of the bill.

“While we’ve made enormous progress in educating the private sector of the dangers these vendors pose, we haven’t put in place policies to help resource-strapped rural carriers address and eliminate those risks,” he said in a statement. “This bill ensures that on a going-forward basis we don’t make the same mistakes in allowing companies subject to extra-judicial directions of a foreign adversary to infiltrate our nation’s communications networks.”

The bill is the latest piece of legislation introduced to secure 5G networks from potential Chinese threats, and comes a day after a bipartisan group of House members introduced a related measure that calls for the creation of a “national strategy” to protect 5G wireless networks from security threats. Rep. Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerThe Memo: Democratic tensions will only get worse as left loses patience Five takeaways on the House's return to budget earmarks Lawmakers say companies need to play key role in sustainability MORE (D-Va.) is the bill's the main sponsor.

President TrumpDonald TrumpWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Poll: 30 percent of GOP voters believe Trump will 'likely' be reinstated this year Black Secret Service agent told Trump it was offensive to hold rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth: report MORE last week signed an executive order banning U.S. companies from using telecommunications equipment from any company deemed a national security risk. 

The Commerce Department also formally added Huawei to its list of blacklisted trade groups last week, though it issued a temporary license on Monday allowing U.S. companies to have “limited engagements” with Huawei for 90 days.