By Karoun Demirjian | The Washington Post
WASHINGTON — Congress is headed for a likely showdown over President Donald Trump’s recent deal to lift certain penalties against Chinese telecom giant ZTE, after the Senate overwhelming passed its version of an annual defense authorization bill that would reimpose those punitive measures.
The Senate voted 85 to 10 to approve the behemoth, $716 billion piece of legislation with little fanfare — a sign of how much common ground there is between the House’s and the Senate’s versions of the bill, which must still be woven into a single piece of legislation — and a reminder that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee has steered the bill through many a floor fight in recent years, continues to battle a rare and serious form of brain cancer in Arizona. The measure is named after McCain.
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The bill envisions several policy changes to better equip the Pentagon to combat threats from aggressor nations such as Russia and China in everything from the arms race to cyberspace. But whereas most of those measures are expected to easily earn the support of the whole Congress, the ZTE provision has already sparked direct clashes with the Trump administration, setting up a likely clash between the GOP’s national security hawks and Trump’s closest supporters as administration officials attempt to convince lawmakers to strip the Senate’s policy change from the final bill.
Both the House and Senate versions of the defense policy bill restrict government agencies from purchasing ZTE products. But the Senate bill goes one step further than the House’s, ordering the reimposition of punitive measures that Trump sought to roll …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Politics