WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House today unanimously passed U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger’s bipartisan legislation requiring a national strategy to protect American 5G telecommunications systems from foreign-based 5G threats.
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 U.S. allies in maximizing the security of their 5G telecommunications systems, particularly as the influence of foreign 5G firms like Huawei and ZTE continues to grow. This strategy would also identify additional ways to spur research and development on 5G by U.S. companies. The bipartisan legislation is led in the U.S. Senate by U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX).
In January 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 413 to 3 to pass the House version of Spanberger’s Secure 5G and Beyond Act. Following last week’s passage in the U.S. Senate and today’s passage in the U.S. House, the bill now heads to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.
“As a former CIA case officer, I recognize that the rapid rise of firms like Huawei and ZTE presents a significant national security threat to the telecom infrastructure of the United States and our allies. If our country is not equipped with a comprehensive strategy to address this growing challenge, we risk jeopardizing the privacy of American consumers, businesses, and government organizations,” said Spanberger. “The Secure 5G and Beyond Act is a clear step toward developing a nationwide gameplan to mitigate the threat posed by foreign-based 5G companies. With the passage of my legislation in the House today, we are strengthening our resilience against the growing influence of these firms while also demonstrating confidence in our tech companies and their ability to innovate. I’m grateful for Senator Cornyn’s partnership in shepherding our legislation through both chambers of Congress, and I look forward to President Trump signing this critical legislation into law.”
Spanberger introduced her bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House in May 2019 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).
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.
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. In November 2019, the Federal Communications Commission placed greater restrictions on Huawei and fellow Chinese tech firm ZTE due to widespread security concerns. However, the United States still lacks a comprehensive strategy.
In January 2020, Spanberger joined C-SPAN’s “The Communicators” to highlight the U.S. House passing her bipartisan bill. Click here to watch Spanberger’s full interview with C-SPAN Executive Producer Peter Slen and technology reporter Emily Birnbaum from The Hill.
Spanberger’s bipartisan bill was passed in the House Foreign Affairs Committee in October 2019 and passed in the House Energy and Commerce Committee in November 2019.