Senators from both parties filed legislation Tuesday that writes President Trump’s decision to blacklist Chinese company Huawei into law.
The Commerce Department moved to effectively ban U.S. companies from doing business with the telecom company, which is a key player in 5G cellular technology. The U.S. fears the Chinese government will use its power and ties to snoop on American interests through the firm’s gear.
The company denies the charge, though Capitol Hill lawmakers haven’t been swayed.
“American companies shouldn’t be in the business of selling our enemies the tools they’ll use to spy on Americans,” said Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican and a lead sponsor.
The U.S. has pressed foreign nations to avoid using Huawei as they build their cutting-edge 5G networks. Some allies have resisted, saying they fear the Americans will cut a side deal with the firm as part of a deal to end the U.S.-China trade war.
Mr. Trump signaled a softening of his stance against Huawei at the G-20 Summit in Japan last month, saying he would allow U.S. companies to sell certain components to the Chinese company as part of a broader thaw in the trade impasse.
Democrats who want Mr. Trump to maintain a hard line on China cried foul.
“The best way to address the national security threat we face from China’s telecommunications companies is to draw a clear line in the sand and stop retreating every time Beijing pushes back,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat and co-sponsor of the new bill. “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.”
The legislation is co-sponsored by Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Mitt Romney of Utah and Democratic Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.
Republican Reps. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin and Liz Cheny of Wyoming and Democratic Reps. Jimmy Panetta of California and Ruben Gallego of Arizona introduced a companion bill in the House.
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