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 WickerHillicon Valley: Trump official declines to testify on trade protections for tech | Senators call for better info-sharing on supply chain threats | Apple pulls app after Chinese pressure Key Democrat presses FTC over Facebook settlement's 'dangerous precedent' Cyber rules for self-driving cars stall in Congress MORE (R-Miss.), Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenators take fundraising efforts to Nats playoff games Senate Intelligence report triggers new calls for action on election security Senate Intel report urges action to prevent Russian meddling in 2020 election MORE (D-Va.) and Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonBipartisan senators want federal plan for sharing more info on supply chain threats On The Money: Fed officials saw rising risk of recession | Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz blast NBA for 'outrageous' response to China | Prospects dim for trade breakthrough with China Ocasio-Cortez, Ted Cruz join colleagues blasting NBA for 'outrageous' response to China MORE (R-Ark.), with Sens. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDemocrats urge Rick Perry not to roll back lightbulb efficiency rules Ocasio-Cortez taps supporters for donations as former primary opponent pitches for Kennedy Rep. Joe Kennedy has history on his side in Senate bid MORE (D-Mass.) and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanOvernight Defense: Trump hits Iranian central bank with sanctions | Trump meeting with Ukrainian leader at UN | Trump touts relationship with North Korea's Kim as 'best thing' for US Exclusive: Kushner tells GOP it needs to unify behind immigration plan Republicans grumble over Trump shifting military funds to wall 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 SpanbergerHouse Dems introduce bill to fight social media disinformation Bipartisan lawmakers who visited Syrian border slam Trump's 'rash decision' Pelosi-backed group funding ads for vulnerable Democrats amid impeachment inquiry MORE (D-Va.) is the bill's the main sponsor.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani says he is unaware of reported federal investigation Louisiana's Democratic governor forced into runoff Lawmakers focus their ire on NBA, not China 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.