Spanberger bill to build 5G strategy gets House vote Wednesday

Abigail SpanbergerLegislation introduced by Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., to protect next-generation U.S. telecommunications systems and mobile infrastructure will come up for consideration on the House floor tomorrow.

Spanberger worked to build a strong bipartisan coalition in support of her bill, with 11 Republicans and 16 Democrats cosponsoring the legislation.

In November, the Federal Communications Commission placed greater restrictions on Huawei and fellow Chinese tech firm ZTE due to widespread security concerns. According to a 2018 North Atlantic Treaty Organization report, Huawei’s growing influence as a leading supplier of 5G technology could be exploited by China to engage in espionage, monitor foreign corporations and governments, and support Chinese military operations.

The Spanberger-led Secure 5G and Beyond Act would require the administration to develop an unclassified, national strategy to protect U.S. consumers and assist allies in maximizing the security of their 5G telecommunications systems.

This strategy would also identify additional ways to spur research and development by U.S. companies in a way that maintains reliable internet access for all Americans.

“As Huawei and ZTE aggressively work to expand their footprint in Europe and around the world, substantial national security concerns are emerging. As a result, many of our allies—including Great Britain and Germany—are demonstrating necessary caution before implementing these systems, and we need to do the same,” Spanberger said. “That’s why I’m proud to see my bill come to the floor of the U.S. House with strong support from both Democrats and Republicans, because we are long overdue for a national strategy to protect against threats from the growing influence of 5G-focused companies like Huawei. The economic potential of 5G infrastructure growth in the United States is tremendous, but we need to pursue this growth with all of the security risks in mind—and my bill would make sure steps are put in place to protect against these cyber-threats.”

In May, Spanberger introduced the Secure 5G and Beyond Act alongside U.S. Representatives Susan W. Brooks (R-IN-05), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01), Francis Rooney (R-FL-19), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08), and Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21). Her bill is companion legislation to a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate by U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Richard Burr (R-NC).

Spanberger’s bill was passed in the House Foreign Affairs Committee in October 2019 and passed in the House Energy and Commerce Committee in November 2019.

Specifically, the bipartisan Secure 5G and Beyond Act would require the administration to build an interagency strategy to:

  • Secure 5th generation and future-generation telecommunications systems and infrastructure across the United States;
  • Assist U.S. allies and defense partners in maximizing the security of 5G systems and infrastructure in their countries; and
  • Protect the competitiveness of U.S. companies, the privacy of U.S. consumers, and the integrity of international standards-setting bodies against foreign political influence.

Click here to read the full bill text.


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