Senators urge Trump to suspend Huawei license approvals

Senators urge Trump to suspend Huawei license approvals
© Greg Nash

A group of senators from both parties on Thursday urged the Trump administration to stop issuing licenses for U.S. companies to do business with Chinese telecom giant Huawei, warning that even limited business with Huawei could pose a national security risk.

In a letter to President Trump, the group of 15 senators wrote they are dismayed the Commerce Department has started issuing licenses to U.S. firms that conduct business with Huawei. 

"Given the security risks posed by Huawei’s operations in the U.S., we request that you take immediate action to suspend the approval of such licenses and ensure Congress is appropriately informed about the license approval process and related national security implications going forward," Sens. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerKrystal Ball: Is this how Bernie Sanders will break the establishment? TikTok chief cancels Capitol Hill meetings, inflaming tensions Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments MORE (D-N.Y.) and Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonTikTok chief cancels Capitol Hill meetings, inflaming tensions Lawsuits pose new challenge for TikTok TikTok's leader to meet with lawmakers next week MORE (R-Ark.) wrote in the bipartisan letter. 

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Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross this week said the Trump administration has started to issue licenses to some of the U.S. companies that requested special permission to conduct business with Huawei after the company was blacklisted in May.

The licenses started to emerge after the Commerce Department announced Monday that the temporary license permitting some companies to work with Huawei has been extended 90 days, in the third deadline extension since the company was blacklisted. 

The Trump administration has moved to crack down on Huawei, which the intelligence community sees as a threat. But the efforts to target Huawei have also caused worry in the tech industry, where many companies have important business dealings with the company. The Commerce Department is seeking to achieve a ban without significantly harming U.S. businesses.

On Thursday, the senators wrote to Trump, "You have said yourself that you did not want the U.S. doing business with Huawei." 

They asked the Commerce Department to stop granting licenses to U.S. companies until it provides Congress with a "report outlining specific criteria for determining whether or not the approval of any license poses a national security threat." 

And they asked Trump to ensure the administration notifies key lawmakers and committees in Congress about any Huawei licenses.