Senator Tom Cotton joined me this morning to discuss the amendment he co-authored re blocking sales of U.S. parts to ZTE and resolution of the families separated at border via the pending spending bill:
HH: Joined by United States Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas. Good morning, Senator.
TC: Good morning, Hugh, good to be on with you.
HH: Thank you. Before I get to the border issue, I want to talk about ZTE and the fact that the Defense Authorization Act is going to pass the Congress with a ban on selling U.S. parts to the telecommunications company, ZTE. You are the author of this amendment. Why did you author it? And why are 85 senators supporting it?
TC: ZTE, Huawei and other Chinese telecom companies are virtual arms of the Chinese Communist Party, Hugh. They are grave threats to our national security and our telecommunications infrastructure as well as the privacy of American citizens. So I’m very pleased that the Senate adopted the amendment I had with Chris Van Hollen and Chuck Schumer to prohibit the federal government from buying their products, from loaning or granting money to American companies that use those products, as well as put ZTE on the sanctions list. Now we went farther than the House. We’ll have to reconcile our provisions with the House. I’m hopeful that we can move them in our direction, but that’ll be the subject of negotiations in the coming weeks.