bicameral legislation will block technology manufactured by companies that pose
a threat to national security
Washington (October 19, 2021) - Senators Edward J. Markey
(D-Mass.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) today applauded the House of
Representatives’ passage of their legislation, the Secure Equipment Act of
2021 (HR. 3919 / S. 1790), which was introduced in the House by
Representatives Anna Eshoo (CA-18) and Steve Scalise (LA-01). This bipartisan,
bicameral legislation directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to
adopt rules clarifying that it will no longer review or issue new equipment
licenses to companies – such as the People’s Republic of China state-backed
firms Huawei and ZTE – on the agency’s “Covered Equipment or Services List”
that pose a national security threat. The FCC is required to maintain this list
under the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019, which
laid out detailed criteria for determining what communications equipment or
services pose an unacceptable risk to U.S. safety.
In 2020, the FCC adopted new rules to require that U.S.
telecommunications carriers rip and replace equipment provided by “covered”
companies. 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. Senators
Markey and Rubio introduced
the Secure Equipment Act
to close this loophole and
further prevent identified security threats from having a presence in U.S.
telecommunications networks. Subsequently, the FCC initiated
a rulemaking that mirrors the lawmakers’ proposal, and the
Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee approved
a modified version of the Secure Equipment Act
will ensure the agency takes timely action on this issue.
“In today’s increasingly connected world, we must animate
our technology with our values,” said Senator Markey. “That’s why our
bipartisan legislation will keep compromised equipment out of U.S.
telecommunications networks and ensure our technology is safe for consumers and
secure for the United States. I’m proud to partner with Senator Rubio on this
proposal and I thank the House of Representatives for advancing our bill. I now
call on the full Senate to swiftly pass the Secure Equipment Act and
send it to the President’s desk.”
"Chinese companies that have already been
identified as national security threats should not be allowed to sell us
compromised equipment and services,” said Senator Rubio. “Senator
Markey and I commend the House for passing our Secure Equipment Act --
bipartisan legislation that would close that loophole and protect American
telecommunications networks. Now, we call on the Senate to do the same and send
it straight to the president's desk."