Members of the House and Senate introduced a bipartisan bill on July 16 to bar both Huawei from U.S. 5G networks and U.S. companies from doing business with the Chinese telecommunications company.
The Defending America’s 5G Future Act would keep Huawei on the Commerce Department’s “entity list” – a list of organizations that U.S. companies cannot conduct business with – unless Congress decides otherwise.
Furthermore, the legislation would grant Congress the ability to block White House waivers for U.S. companies to conduct business with Huawei – a move that challenges President Trump’s announcement last month at the G20 summit in Japan that U.S. businesses can sell equipment to Huawei if there were no national security threats identified.
The bill backs other policies supported by the administration, however. It would codify the May White House executive order that blocked foreign technologies companies identified as a national security concern from doing business in the United States.
Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Mark Warner, D-Va., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Mitt Romney, R-Utah, introduced the legislation in the Senate, while Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., Jimmy Panetta, D-Cali., Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., introduced the House companion bill.
“Huawei isn’t a normal business partner for American companies, it’s a front for the Chinese Communist Party,” Cotton said. “Our bill reinforces the president’s decision to place Huawei on a technology blacklist. American companies shouldn’t be in the business of selling our enemies the tools they’ll use to spy on Americans.”
“The President’s actions to protect America’s telecommunications supply chain and restrict the sale of American technology to Huawei were critical steps to protect the future of 5G,” Gallagher added. “It is time we codify these decisions into law and ensure American innovation does not fuel Huawei’s CCP-directed campaign to dominate the global telecommunications market.”
Van Hollen’s comments highlighted that the legislation, in part, is intended to create safeguards around the Huawei ban amid the administration’s shifting attitude toward the company.
“By prohibiting American companies from doing business with Huawei, we finally sent an unequivocal message that we take this threat seriously and President Trump shouldn’t be able to trade away those legitimate security concerns,” Van Hollen said. “This legislation will make sure he doesn’t by codifying the President’s original executive order on Huawei and prohibiting the Administration from relieving penalties on Huawei without the approval of Congress.”