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Senators Push Measure to Expand Federal Procurement Ban to Chinese Chipmakers

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, are working to include in the final version of the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act an amendment that would block federal government agencies from doing business with Chinese semiconductor companies, Politico reported Thursday.

Sources said Schumer and Cornyn were able to have their proposed measure added to the Senate NDAA in October as part of the managers package and are working with their colleagues to facilitate the inclusion of their proposal in the final defense policy bill.

According to the report, the proposal from the two lawmakers seeks to expand Section 889 of the FY 2019 NDAA, which prohibits agencies from buying telecommunications and video surveillance equipment and services produced by Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE.

Defense One reported that the proposed amendment, Section 5871, would broaden Section 889 provisions by precluding the federal government from using or procuring products containing chips made by China-based Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. or SMIC, Yangtze Memory Technologies and ChangXin Memory Technologies.

The language, which would only take effect three years after the provision becomes law, would provide the secretary of the Department of Defense the option to extend the prohibition to other Chinese chipmakers of concern.

The proposed measure from Cornyn and Schumer would also encourage government contractors to put an end to the use of semiconductors produced by the listed Chinese companies in any “substantial or essential” components of their platforms, according to the report.