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The Huawei booth at the China International Fair for Trade in Services on Sept. 6 in Beijing. Photo: Lu Junming/Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

President Biden signed into law Thursday a bill that requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to secure telecommunications systems against potential foreign threats to national security.

Why it matters: In recent years, lawmakers have increasingly voiced concerns about Chinese telecom giants' operations in the U.S., and possible surveillance by the Chinese government.

Details: Under the new law, the FCC is barred from considering authorization for products made by companies on its "covered list," which includes Huawei and ZTE.

  • The designation blocks U.S. companies from using FCC funds to purchase communications equipment and services that the U.S. government considers a national security threat.
  • The bill received near-unanimous support in Congress. It was sponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), along with House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.).

What they're saying: "[O]ur bipartisan legislation will keep compromised equipment out of U.S. telecommunications networks and ensure our technology is safe for consumers and secure for the United States," Markey said in a statement after the measure passed the Senate in October.

  • The law will protect the U.S. from equipment that "pose an unacceptable risk to national security," the White House said in a statement Thursday.

Don't forget: Former President Trump repeatedly sanctioned Huawei and other major Chinese tech companies throughout his term.

Go deeper

Overseas telcos: Make Big Tech pay more for bandwidth

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Overseas telecom providers, increasingly frustrated with American tech firms whose apps are gobbling up bandwidth, are pushing them to pay more for it.

Why it matters: Any effort to reslice the "cost of internet bandwidth" pie could shake up the entire industry, make new winners and losers, and put new pressure on U.S. tech giants.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congressional leaders clinch support for crucial defense bill, debt limit votes

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer passes waiting reporters on Tuesday. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Congress has found a shortcut to pass its annual defense funding bill and raise the debt limit.

Driving the news: The House voted Tuesday night on two major bills — one creating a one-time, fast-track process for the Senate to raise the debt ceiling with just 51 votes, and another passing its annual defense bill.

House passes annual defense bill

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted to pass the annual defense bill 363-70 on Tuesday night, authorizing nearly $770 billion in funding for defenses and national security programs.

Why it matters: The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) still has to clear the Senate, but the House passage greatly increases the chances that the must-pass defense bill will move through both chambers of Congress before the end of the year.