Trump budget official pushes for delay in Huawei ban

The Trump administration’s top budget official is pushing the White House and Congress to delay a ban on federal agencies buying products from Huawei Technologies amid concerns that a large number of U.S. businesses would no longer be able to do work with the government.

Defense policy legislation signed into law last year restricted the U.S. government and those who receive federal grants from doing business, either directly or through contractors, with Huawei.

The measure, however, would also disproportionally affect rural companies and federal grantees, according to Russell Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget.

“The Administration believes, based on feedback from impacted stakeholders, that this additional preparatory work will better ensure the effective implementation of the prohibition without compromising desired security objectives,” he wrote in a June 4 letter to Vice President Mike Pence and several members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California.

The OMB is requesting the ban on those who receive federal loans and grants to take effect in four years, a two-year delay from the current timeline.

The request comes as the White House takes a more aggressive stance on curbing the U.S. operations of the Chinese telecommunications firm.

Last month, Trump signed an executive order to bar American businesses from working with firms deemed a national security threat, a sweeping action that was company and country-agnostic but widely acknowledged to be directed at Huawei.

The measure, which will prevent Huawei from purchasing critical equipment like semiconductors from the U.S., could have a significant impact on the operations of American companies.

Google, for example, is reportedly warning the White House that the action would impair the firm’s ability to update its Android operating software on Huawei phones, potentially affecting U.S. national security given older versions could be susceptible to hacking.

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The Mountain View, California-based company is pushing the administration to exempt it from the pending restrictions, according to the Financial Times.


Google is engaging with the administration to “ensure we’re in full compliance with its requirements and temporary license,” according to a company spokesperson.

“Our focus is protecting the security of Google users on the millions of existing Huawei handsets in the U.S. and around the world today and going forward,” they said in an emailed statement.