Democrats and Republicans in Congress on Tuesday joined forces to introduce a bill that would codify into law the US trade ban against the Chinese telecom company Huawei. Called the "Defending America's 5G Future Act," the legislation would prohibit the president from lifting the ban without explicit approval from Congress.
The legislation comes two weeks after President Trump said that, as part of US-China trade negotiations, he would ease up on the ban. "US companies can sell their equipment to Huawei," Trump said at the G20 Summit in Japan. "We're talking about equipment where there's no great national security problem with it."
The US Commerce Department added Huawei to its "Entity List," in May, barring US companies from transferring technology to Huawei without a special license from the US government. The move prompted key partners, including Android maker Google and chipmaker Arm, to cut off supplies to the Chinese network and smartphone giant.
Last week, following the president's remarks, the Commerce Department said it would keep Huawei on the list but "issue licenses where there is no threat to US national security."
The new legislation, introduced in both the House and the Senate with bipartisan support, would not only keep Huawei on the list but also bar the administration from granting waivers to US companies engaged in commerce with Huawei.
"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," Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, one of the bill's co-sponsors, said in a statement. "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's co-sponsors also include Democratic Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, as well as Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Marco Rubio of Florida and Mitt Romney of Utah.
In the House, the bill was sponsored by Republican Reps. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin and Liz Cheney of Wyoming, as well as Democratic Reps. Jimmy Panetta of California and Ruben Gallego of Arizona.
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