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Rubio, Markey Applaud Commerce Committee Passage of Secure Equipment Act

Aug 4, 2021 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ed Markey (D-MA) applauded the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s approval of their bipartisan legislation, the Secure Equipment Act of 2021, which closes a loophole by directing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to clarify that it will no longer review or approve applications from companies on the Commission’s “Covered List.” The bill would also prevent further integration and sales of Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, Hikvision, and Dahua – all Chinese state-backed or directed firms – in the U.S. regardless of whether federal funds are involved. The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
In 2020, the FCC adopted new rules to require that U.S. telecommunications carriers rip out and replace equipment provided by “covered” companies. While that was an important step, those rules only apply to equipment purchased with federal funding. The very same equipment can still be used if purchased with private or non-federal government dollars. Senators Rubio and Markey introduced the Secure Equipment Act to close this loophole and further prevent identified security threats from having a presence in U.S. telecommunications networks. Subsequently, the FCC initiated a rulemaking that mirrors the lawmakers’ proposal. This legislation builds on the FCC’s ongoing proceeding and requires timely action on this issue.
“The Chinese Communist Party will stop at nothing to exploit our laws and undermine our national security,” Rubio said. “Chinese state-directed companies, like Huawei and ZTE, have no place in our telecommunications network. This bill would keep compromised equipment from bad actors out of critical U.S. infrastructure. I am pleased that the Commerce Committee advanced this bill, and I look forward to its ultimate passage on the Senate floor.”
“In today’s increasingly connected world, we must animate our technology with our values,” Markey said. “That’s why our bipartisan legislation will keep compromised equipment out of U.S. telecommunications networks and ensure our technology is safe for consumers and secure for the United States. I’m proud to partner with Senator Rubio on this proposal and I thank the Commerce Committee for advancing our bill. I look forward to now fighting for its swift passage by the full Senate.”
U.S. Representatives Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives, which was recently advanced by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
“The Secure Equipment Act of 2021 will help keep our country safe by ensuring that untrustworthy communications equipment is not authorized for use within our borders. These latest efforts align with my efforts to update the Federal Communications Commission’s equipment authorization procedures,” FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said. “I thank Senators Markey and Rubio for their dedication to this issue–having this policy written into the law will send a strong, bipartisan signal that the United States is serious about developing a robust market for secure 5G alternatives
“I applaud Senator Rubio and Senator Markey for their leadership and work to secure America’s communications networks,” FCC Commissioner Carr said. “Their legislation would help ensure that insecure gear from companies like Huawei, ZTE, and other Chinese state-backed entities can no longer be inserted into America’s communications infrastructure. This gear poses an unacceptable risk to our national security, and their bipartisan legislation would ensure that the FCC closes the loophole being used today by Huawei and others on the Covered List to be a part of our networks. I am very pleased that this legislation has advanced out of Committee and look forward to its consideration by the full Senate.”