One bipartisan group of Senators has come together to bring forth a new bill seeking to bar the Chinese telecom titan Huawei from accessing the U.S. financial system.
Known as the “NETWORKS Act,” this new piece of legislation would set up a number of sanctions against foreign telecommunications companies that have been suspected of taking part in either economic or industrial espionage targeting American companies. This new bill was first authored and subsequently introduced by Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). It was co-sponsored by Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
“We’ve made great strides in recent years at home and abroad in combatting Huawei’s malign attempts to dominate 5G and steal Americans’ data,” explained Cotton in a release. “However, the fight is not finished. Huawei is an arm of Chinese intelligence. We cannot allow Huawei and the Chinese Communist Party to have access to Americans’ personal data and our country’s most sensitive defense systems. We must address the dire threat these Chinese companies pose to our national security.”
“Foreign companies that spy on the U.S. and violate our laws should face severe consequences,” expressed Van Hollen. “Huawei is a repeat offender. This bipartisan bill will bolster our national defenses by further sanctioning Huawei and other similar bad actors seeking to undermine our security.”
This new bill seeks to push the president to utilize his powers of sanction under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to ban foreign individuals from carrying out property transactions within the United States. notably, the bill focuses on “foreign persons” who carry out the development of fifth-generation (5G) or future-generation telecommunications technology and take part in either economic or industrial espionage or any other illicit activities within the U.S. A few smaller exceptions have been created for the importation of goods.
Additionally, the president will have the power to issue waivers of sanctions for individuals, on a renewable basis of 90 days, for reasons concerning national security.
At a point earlier this past year, members of the Biden administration opened an investigation into Huawei over numerous concerns that the tech titan from China was stealing data from missile silos and military bases from any cell towers that use the company’s devices.
Brenden Carr, the Commissioner for the FCC, highlighted “very real concerns” that the cell towers would work as a kind of early warning system in the event of an ICBM attack. Carr explained to Reuters at that time that a number of cell towers near Malmstrom Air Force Base out in Montana worked using Huawei devices. In the same vein, Crystal Rhoades, the Nebraska Public Service Commissioner, stated to the outlet that cell towers operated by a local carrier named Viaero which runs utilizing Huawei equipment, could end up compromising missile silos near F.E. Warren Air For Base out in Wyoming.