2018-06-18 — politico.com
The Senate voted Monday to reimpose the U.S. ban on Chinese telecom giant ZTE, in a rebuke to President Donald Trump and his efforts to keep the company in business.
The provision targeting ZTE was part of the National Defense Authorization Act, a must-pass defense spending bill that cleared the Senate by a vote of 85-10. It must now be reconciled with the House version of the measure, which takes a narrower approach to ZTE.
The vote raises the stakes in Congress' brewing confrontation with Trump over the Chinese company, which lawmakers of both parties consider a national security threat to U.S. networks.
In a sign of the broad backing for the effort, Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Marco Rubio of Florida as well as Democrats like Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts pushed for the ZTE ban to be included in the defense bill.
The Senate's ZTE provision would force Trump to certify that Chinese telecoms have not violated U.S. law for a full year and are cooperating with U.S. investigators before any lifting of civil penalties. It would also prevent the U.S. government from purchasing or subsidizing equipment from ZTE and Huawei.
Despite Monday's overwhelming Senate passage, the ZTE ban could still be stripped from the defense bill or modified during the conference process between the Senate and House, which did not push back as aggressively in its own version of the legislation. House lawmakers did include a provision that would bar ZTE and Huawei from entering into U.S. government contracts.
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