Trump signs law banning federal funds for Huawei equipment
President Trump on Thursday signed into law a bill banning the use of federal funds to purchase equipment from telecom companies deemed a national security threat, such as Chinese telecom group Huawei.
The Secure and Trusted Communications Act, which the Senate passed in February and the House approved last year, will also require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a $1 billion fund to help small telecom groups remove existing equipment that is deemed to be a threat.
“Securing our networks from malicious foreign interference is critical to America’s wireless future, especially as some communications providers rely on equipment from companies like Huawei that pose an immense threat to America’s national and economic security,” the bill’s House sponsors, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), ranking member Greg Walden (R-Ore.), and Reps. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), said in a statement.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), whose committee has made 5G security a priority, praised Trump for signing the bill into law.
“This legislation lays the foundation to help U.S. firms strip out vulnerable equipment and replace it with secure alternatives,” Wicker said in a statement. “Today marks an important victory for our economy and national security.”
The new law marks a major effort to eject Huawei and another Chinese company, ZTE, from U.S. networks. Both were previously designated national security threats by the FCC in November. The FCC also previously voted unanimously to ban the use of FCC funds by groups deemed to be threats.
A spokesperson for Huawei declined to respond to The Hill’s request for comment. The company has repeatedly pushed back against criticism, and is suing the FCC.