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John Lamparski/Getty Images)

FCC chairman Ajit Pai told reporters on Tuesday that he believes — contrary to the position articulated in a National Security Council memo published by Axios — the U.S. is winning the race to the next generation of wireless systems.

What we're hearing: Pai says the telecom industry has invested heavily in 5G and the FCC is helping to encourage the deployment.

"There is no easy way to quantify this, but I will say if you judge it by the priority we placed on this issue as well as the activity that we have conducted in order to meet that priority, then I think we are doing what we can to assert U.S. leadership in 5G.”— Pai

Flashback: The NSC memo made the case that the government needs to step in and build a nationwide 5G network in order to fend off security threats from China and elsewhere.

Yes, but: The fear that America is lagging behind China is widespread. Even those who disagree with the proposal say they agree with the fundamental threat posed by China and other countries trying to lead the race.

  • Korea, Japan and other countries have also been pushing to be first with 5G.
  • And, as we've noted, China's Huawei is winning the battle to supply much of the gear that underlies such networks, heightening U.S. fears about China.
  • Asked about a letter lawmakers sent Pai worried about Huawei’s (seemingly foiled, for now) entrance into the U.S. phone market, he said that he’d received the message and that the agency worked with “federal partners” on national security issues on a continued basis.

Clean up effort: Politico reported on a White House meeting with telecom industry representatives where administration officials tried to clean up the fallout from the memo. In the room were NEC's Grace Koh and infrastructure adviser D.J. Gribbin, per Politico.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
10 mins ago - Axios on HBO

GOP senator smacks Trump

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told “Axios on HBO” he’s not sure former President Donald Trump would win the Republican nomination if he ran in 2024 — a rare voice of criticism from within the party.

  • When I raised the conventional wisdom that Trump would be expected to win the nomination, Cassidy jumped in.“
  • I don't know that,” the senator said during our interview in Chalmette, La.
21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Congress begins yearend sprint

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The House and Senate face an onslaught of deadlines key to fulfilling members' campaign promises and keeping the government afloat as they return from recess this week.

Why it matters: The next few weeks will be pivotal to enacting President Biden's agenda — and determining how the Democratic Party fares in the midterm elections.

Updated 5 hours ago - World

Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

The latest: Haitian police inspector Frantz Champagne identified the 400 Mawozo gang as the group responsible, in a statement to AP.