GOP Senators: Commerce Is Slow To Block Suspect Tech

Capitol Hill
(Image credit: Gary Arlen)

Republican legislators are telling the Biden Administration to move more quickly to block Chinese telecom Huawei's access to U.S. tech saying "poorly enforced regulations carry neither the force of law nor the respect of the private sector."

Huawei's tech was deemed by the Commerce Department (and the FCC) to be a national security threat. The FCC banned the use of Huawei in U.S. networks subsidized with government funds and Commerce put the company on its Entity List of companies that U.S. tech companies are prohibited from supplying.

Also: Commerce Expands Huawei Restrictions

But in a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, and others they said the Administration needed to move quickly to prevent unlawful shipments of prohibited products to Huawei and other on the Entity List. They also said the Bureau of Industry Security needs to have the muscle to enforce Commerce export controls.

The letter follows a report from Senate minority (Republican) staffers that concluded Huawei was still getting access to U.S. made hard drives it should have been prohibited from securing.

“The Commerce Department’s lax enforcement of this rule has the effect of incentivizing other tech-focused companies throughout the supply chain to jeopardize our country’s security by transacting with Entity List companies like Huawei,” they told Raimondo.

Also signing on to the letter were Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.