Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today in introducing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to respond to the national-security threat posed by Chinese telecom companies like Huawei and ZTE.
“Huawei and ZTE pose a serious threat to America’s national security. These companies have direct links to the Chinese government and Communist Party. Their products and services are used for espionage and intellectual property theft, and they have been putting the American people and economy at risk without consequence for far too long,” said Rubio. “On the same day that the Administration announced it had reached a ‘deal’ with ZTE, my colleagues advanced this important measure and I encourage Congress to remain clear-eyed and unified on the threat China poses to U.S. interests and national security.”
“Huawei and ZTE have extensive ties with the Chinese Community Party, as well as a track record of doing business with rogue regimes like North Korea and Iran. So it’s only prudent that no one in the federal government use their equipment or services and that they receive no taxpayer dollars. Given their repeated violations of U.S. law, we cannot trust them to respect U.S. national security, and so it’s vital we hold them accountable and pass this amendment,” said Cotton.
“ZTE has flagrantly and repeatedly violated U.S. laws, and any deal to let them off the hook should not move forward. This amendment will ensure that, regardless of action the Administration takes right now, Congress will protect American interests and national security,” said Van Hollen.
“In a country full of bad actors when it comes to hurting American jobs and threatening our national security, Huawei and ZTE are two of the absolute worst offenders,” said Schumer. “Both parties in Congress must come together to bring the hammer down on these companies rather than offer them a second chance, and this new bipartisan amendment will do just that.”
The amendment is co-sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Bill Nelson (D-FL).
· The amendment would prohibit all U.S. government agencies from purchasing or leasing telecommunications equipment and/or services from Huawei, ZTE, or any subsidiaries or affiliates.
· It would also ban the U.S. government from using grants and loans to subsidize Huawei, ZTE, or any subsidiaries or affiliates.
· Finally, it would restore penalties on ZTE for violating export controls.