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 WickerWill Congress act to stop robocalls? Hillicon Valley: Trump reportedly weighing executive action on alleged tech bias | WH to convene summit on online extremism | Federal agencies banned from buying Huawei equipment | Lawmakers jump start privacy talks The Hill's Morning Report - How will Trump be received in Dayton and El Paso? MORE (R-Miss.), Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerLawmakers sound alarm on China's disinformation campaign in Hong Kong Facebook users in lawsuit say company failed to warn them of known risks before 2018 breach New intel chief inherits host of challenges MORE (D-Va.) and Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonGOP senator says he suggested Greenland purchase to Trump, met with Danish ambassador It's time to empower military families with education freedom Cotton warns China: Crackdown on Hong Kong would be 'grave miscalculation' MORE (R-Ark.), with Sens. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyMoulton drops out of presidential race after struggling to gain traction Joseph Kennedy mulling primary challenge to Markey in Massachusetts Overnight Energy: Trump sparks new fight over endangered species protections | States sue over repeal of Obama power plant rules | Interior changes rules for ethics watchdogs MORE (D-Mass.) and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanOvernight Defense: Esper sworn in as Pentagon chief | Confirmed in 90-8 vote | Takes helm as Trump juggles foreign policy challenges | Senators meet with woman accusing defense nominee of sexual assault Alarm sounds over census cybersecurity concerns Senate sets new voting record with Iran war measure 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 SpanbergerAssault weapons ban picks up steam in Congress Pelosi backers feel vindicated after tumultuous stretch Overnight Defense: House votes to block Trump arms sales to Saudis, setting up likely veto | US officially kicks Turkey out of F-35 program | Pentagon sending 2,100 more troops to border MORE (D-Va.) is the bill's the main sponsor.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? 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.