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Reps. Womack and Luria Introduce Bipartisan American Telecommunications Security Act

Washington, DC—November 4, 2021....U.S. Representatives Steve Womack (R-AR-3) and Elaine Luria (D-VA-2) today introduced the American Telecommunications Security Act, bipartisan legislation prohibiting the use of American Rescue Plan Act funds to purchase telecommunications equipment manufactured by the Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE.

Rep. Womack said, “Communist China is actively working to target every aspect of American enterprise. The last thing we need is to give companies inextricably tied to Beijing’s espionage efforts access to critical U.S. networks. It’s a glaring national security threat. Every action must be taken to secure our technology and telecommunications infrastructure.” 

“We cannot allow taxpayer dollars to be used to facilitate the People’s Republic of China’s surveillance campaign against America,” Rep. Luria said. “The extent to which these companies are complicit in Beijing’s espionage efforts are well documented. This bipartisan legislation mirrors existing provisions that safeguard American technology infrastructure.” 

In June 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designated Huawei and ZTE as national security threats due to their ties to the Chinese government and Chinese law requiring them to assist in espionage activities. As a result, no funds from the FCC’s Universal Fund can be used to purchase equipment from these two suppliers. 

However, the American Rescue Plan did not include language prohibiting this, allowing states and local governments to purchase telecommunications equipment that poses a national security risk. This bill ensures that state and local governments across the country purchase equipment that maintains our national security against foreign threats.

Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) has represented Arkansas’s Third Congressional District since 2011. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

womack.house.gov

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