Reps. Eshoo, Scalise and Sens. Markey, Rubio Applaud FCC’s Decision to Implement the Secure Equipment Act, Protect American Users from Global Digital Threats
Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) and Steve Scalise (LA-01) and Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) applauded the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) recent, unanimous decision to prohibit the importation or sale of communications equipment deemed a threat to national security in the United States. The new rule implements the lawmakers’ bipartisan Secure Equipment Act, legislation signed into law by President Biden in November 2021 that directs the FCC to adopt rules clarifying that it will no longer review or issue new equipment licenses to companies on the Commission’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.
“I've fought for over a decade to address vulnerabilities in our telecommunications infrastructure that directly impact our national security. Equipment made by Huawei and ZTE, companies linked to the Chinese Communist Party, increases the vulnerabilities of our telecommunication systems and puts the privacy and safety of Americans at risk. I applaud the FCC for taking historic action by implementing the Secure Equipment Act, our bipartisan, bicameral legislation that prohibits licenses for any equipment made by companies that threaten our national security,” said Representative Eshoo.
“I applaud the historic action taken by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to properly implement my bipartisan legislation, the Secure Equipment Act, which safeguards our telecommunications networks from threats by China and others so we can strengthen America’s national security. The FCC’s important action finally starts to confront the significant threat China poses to Americans’ privacy and data security interests. I am pleased to see the FCC take this unprecedented action, and look forward to working with the Commission and other partners to address the continued threat China poses to America,” said House Republican Whip Steve Scalise.
“I commend the Federal Communications Commission on issuing its final rule to implement the bipartisan Secure Equipment Act, which I was proud to help lead in the Senate,” said Senator Markey. “This new rule will help bolster our communications infrastructure and protect against global technological threats. In our digitally connected world, these protections are essential to ensuring that our communications networks are safe and secure.”
“I applaud the Federal Communications Commission for taking this important step to implement my law. This new rule will help ensure that critical American infrastructure is protected from Chinese exploitation,” said Senator Rubio.
In 2020, the FCC adopted new rules to require that U.S. telecommunications carriers rip and replace equipment provided by “covered” companies. While that rulemaking was an important step, it only applied to equipment purchased with federal funding. The very same equipment could still be used if purchased with private or non-federal government dollars. Representatives Eshoo and Scalise, alongside 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. The FCC’s new rule completes the rulemaking as required under the Secure Equipment Act.