09/17/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/17/2021 14:16
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan cosponsored the bipartisan Secure Equipment Act of 2021 that would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to close a loophole and help prevent telecommunications equipment sold by companies that pose a national security threat from being deployed in the United States. These companies include Chinese state-backed or directed firms such as Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, Hikvision, and Dahua.
In 2020, the FCC adopted new rules to require U.S. telecommunications carriers to rip and replace equipment provided by Huawei, ZTE, and other covered companies that pose a risk to U.S. national security. 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. The bipartisan Secure Equipment Act closes this national security loophole by directing the FCC to clarify that it will no longer review, or approve, applications from companies on the Commission's 'Covered List' - regardless of whether federal funds were used.
'Chinese state-directed companies, including Huawei, pose a clear threat to our national security and we must protect our infrastructure from these bad actors,' Senator Hassan said. 'This bipartisan bill would help ensure that our adversaries cannot take advantage of loopholes to sell compromised equipment and services to Americans, and I will push to gain support for this important bill.'
Senator Hassan is working across the aisle to address the national security and economic threat posed by the Chinese government, and earlier this year she worked with her colleagues to pass bipartisan legislation to help the U.S. outcompete China. The bipartisan United States Innovation and Competition Act includes $1.5 billion for the USA Telecommunications Act, which Senator Hassan and colleagues previously passed into law, to provide funds to support research and development in Western-based alternatives to Chinese equipment providers Huawei and ZTE. Additionally, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2021 included two bipartisan provisions that Senator Hassan worked on to address the rise of China, including an amendment she cosponsored to help spur American-based manufacturing of semiconductors in order to increase competitiveness and decrease reliance on China.