U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is urging the federal government to give small businesses more time to comply with a regulation restricting the use of certain Chinese telecommunication equipment.
The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) contains provisions barring federal contractors from using technology from Chinese companies such as Huawei Technologies Company, ZTE Corporation and others.
Those restrictions apply to the federal government as well.
Huawei and ZTE were named national security threats by the federal government, prompting Congress to take action to ensure they weren’t being used for federal projects. ZTE is also accused of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.
But Rubio and Democratic U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland say smaller contractors need more time to adjust to the new rules.
“While many larger contractors have the resources and personnel to comply quickly, small business contractors may need more assistance and time,” the Senators wrote in a letter to Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Russell Vought.
“Considering that roughly one quarter of federal procurements, accounting for more than $120 billion in spending, go to small businesses, we believe it is vital that small businesses be given special consideration when implementing this legislation.”
Rubio chairs the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Cardin serves as its ranking member.
The Senators sent the letter Monday. OMB is now reviewing the rule changes for section 889(a)(1)(B) of the 2019 NDAA.
“As Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, we respectfully request that you ensure that any regulations established to implement section 889(a)(1)(B) of the FY2019 NDAA include explicit processes by which small business contractors can examine their supply chains and efficiently become compliant,” the Senators’ letter continues.
“By providing these small firms with a clear path toward compliance and a reasonable time frame, we believe that the goal of securing the United States supply chain will be better achieved.”