Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Huawei has struggled to sell its gear in the U.S. amid government opposition. Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Federal Communications Commission is steaming ahead with a proposal to ban some telecom equipment makers from a subsidized purchase program. 

Why it matters: The proposal, which the FCC is expected to put up for public comment Tuesday, affects companies that "pose a national security threat to America's networks." It's part of a Washington-wide effort to choke off Huawei and ZTE's access to the U.S. market over fears they are too close to the Chinese government.

How it works: The proposal would make it impossible for money from the FCC-controlled Universal Service Fund to go towards the purchase of "equipment or services from any company that poses a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or their supply chains," said FCC chairman Ajit Pai in a statement last month.

  • The Universal Service Fund pays, in part, for broadband buildout in rural areas. Some rural internet providers worry the FCC proposal will make it difficult to buy Chinese gear, which is typically cheaper than the competition.
  • The agency is seeking comment on what companies could be covered by the rule. But the proposal mentions the concerns about Huawei and ZTE, as well as the Russia-linked Kaspersky Labs.

The big picture: Against the backdrop of President Trump's tariff fight, Washington is out for blood when it comes to Chinese companies that make equipment for telecom networks.

  • The Commerce Department said Monday that American companies can't sell goods to ZTE because the Chinese company misled the agency on multiple occasions.
  • Lawmakers — including allies of the president — are pushing for action. A group urged Pai last year to look at ultimately-scuttled plans for Huawei to release a phone through an American provider.
  • A since-departed Trump National Security Council official earlier floated the prospect of nationalizing America's 5G network.

While the Trump administration and Republicans on Capitol Hill are behind many of these moves, some Democrats are concerned about Huawei and ZTE as well.

Driving the news: China is leading the world in deploying super-fast 5G wireless, according to a new wireless industry report. The Chinese firms are already prevented from working with major U.S. carriers but their products are popular among upstarts and smaller rural firms. Blocking them from competing could help strengthen their European and Asian rivals — but also risks slowing 5G deployment on smaller networks stateside.

Update: The FCC unanimously voted to put the proposal up for public comment. A final vote will come later this year.

Go deeper

Updated 22 mins ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.