Washington, DC – As Congress continues to provide critical resources and support in the fight against COVID-19, House and Senate members are also already conducting oversight into how we got here – including the Communist Party of China (CCP)’s efforts to deliberately mislead the world about coronavirus. The CCP went to great lengths to conceal cases of COVID-19 and intentionally hide information about this virus that originated in their country. Their actions are unacceptable and cost hundreds of thousands lives – both of their own citizens and of people across the globe.
China must be held accountable, and House Republicans are taking action to do just that. To be clear: the Chinese people are also victims of the CCP’s negligence through no fault of their own. The blame for the failures of the CCP lie solely with the CCP, not the Chinese people.
House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Republican Leader Michael McCaul (R-TX) recently launched an initiative to examine the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S.-China relationship. Members are also working together to find ways to stop supply chain threats. We have seen the importance of this more than ever during COVID-19 – from pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to our telecommunications gear.
We’ve seen suspect companies like Huawei and ZTE infiltrate our communications networks and threaten our supply chain. Recently, President Trump signed into law the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act to help small and rural providers replace Huawei, ZTE and other suspect equipment, and help the federal government coordinate and share supply chain information with carriers. This bipartisan bill takes important steps to bolster our national security, and was led by Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR), Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA).
Energy and Commerce Committee members are leading another bipartisan effort to promote American independence and growth in 5G. The Utilizing Strategic Allied (USA) Telecommunications Act of 2020 was introduced by Rep. Guthrie, Committee GOP Leader Walden, Committee Chairman Pallone, and Rep. Matsui to speed up the deployment and use of secure 5G networks.
The FCC also recently issued orders to China Telecom Americas, China Unicorn Americas, Pacific Networks, and ComNet to demand they defend their business operations in the U.S. after recommendations from multiple federal agencies – including Homeland Security, the State Department, the Commerce Department, and others – to terminate their authorization to operate in the United States.
As our society relies more on technologies, we should not let up one inch when it comes to leading in emerging technologies, protecting our communications networks from bad actors, and keeping Americans safe. That’s why Congress is also exploring other actions like imposing tariffs on Huawei and other culprits of malicious foreign interference. We’ve seen more than ever that protecting our national security, economy, and public health and safety all are vital for our nation’s future success and leadership on the world stage.