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 — Presented by Philip Morris International — UN calls for probe into alleged Saudi hack of Bezos | Experts see effort to 'silence' Washington Post | Bezos tweets tribute to Khashoggi Senators fret over lack of manpower to build 5G Lawmakers introduce bill to bolster artificial intelligence, quantum computing MORE (R-Miss.), Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Bezos phone breach raises fears over Saudi hacking | Amazon seeks to halt Microsoft's work on 'war cloud' | Lawmakers unveil surveillance reform bill Bezos phone breach escalates fears over Saudi hacking MSNBC's Chris Hayes knocks senators for ducking out of impeachment trial: 'You can resign' MORE (D-Va.) and Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonGOP senator provides fidget spinners to Senate colleagues at lunch Restlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on Senators opt to drink milk on Senate floor during impeachment trial MORE (R-Ark.), with Sens. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyHillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Bezos phone breach raises fears over Saudi hacking | Amazon seeks to halt Microsoft's work on 'war cloud' | Lawmakers unveil surveillance reform bill Twitter tells facial-recognition app maker to stop collecting its data Democratic senator presses facial recognition company after reports of law enforcement collaboration MORE (D-Mass.) and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanImpeachment trial forces senators to scrap fundraisers Senators inch forward on federal privacy bill Romney, Collins, Murkowski only Senate GOP holdouts on Graham's impeachment resolution 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 Democrats launch effort to register minority voters in key districts House passes bills to gain upper hand in race to 5G The biggest political upsets of the decade MORE (D-Va.) is the bill's the main sponsor.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Anita Hill to Iowa crowd: 'Statute of limitations' for Biden apology is 'up' Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation 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.