Ruppersberger Amendment Blocking ZTE Bailout Passes Committee
May 17, 2018
Ruppersberger issued bipartisan report outlining ZTE cyber threat in 2012
(Washington, DC) — An amendment blocking President Trump’s bailout of Chinese telecom company ZTE offered by Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) unanimously passed the House Appropriations Committee today. The amendment will be included in the Fiscal Year 2019 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill when it comes under consideration by the full House of Representatives next month.
Congressman Ruppersberger has long suspected ZTE is used by the Chinese government to spy on Americans through the cell phone components they manufacture. He traveled to Hong Kong and interviewed ZTE executives before co-authoring a bipartisan report on the threat as then-Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee in 2012.
ZTE was sanctioned in April after it was caught shipping American-made goods to Iran and North Korea. President Trump earlier this week, however, announced that he is directing the U.S. Commerce Department to help the company, citing Chinese job losses.
“This amendment, which passed with the unanimous support of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, shows that, when the United States enacts sanctions, we stand behind them,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “It will also prevent a foreign company that is beholden to its government – and that ignores embargoes – from infiltrating the devices and networks that are now indispensable to American life.”
Congresswoman DeLauro was a co-lead on the amendment.
“I am proud that today’s amendment maintaining penalties on the shady Chinese cellular company ZTE received unanimous support in the Appropriations Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee,” she said. “We, as the Congress, need to step up to protect American workers, and American national security, from a company that experts inside and outside government agree endangers American interests. This is not a company that President Trump should be trying to save. He promised to protect American jobs and claims to be all about ‘America First.’ I suppose not—this move is clearly China First.”
Specifically, the amendment prevents the U.S. Commerce Department from renegotiating sanctions on ZTE, preventing them from receiving support from the U.S. vendors on which they depend. The full text is available here.