Morning Consult Op-Ed Highlights Need For New Congress To Look Into Foreign Policy Concerns in T-Mobile/Sprint Merger

For Immediate Release: January 3, 2019
Press Contact: Regan Page at regan@npstrategygroup.com

 

Morning Consult Op-Ed Highlights Need For New Congress To Look Into Foreign Policy Concerns in T-Mobile/Sprint Merger

 

Washington, DC – Today, Morning Consult published an op-ed by Scott Mulhauser and David Wade, which highlighted the national security concerns of the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger. Despite a reported green light from CFIUS, there is no evidence that ensures that Sprint and T-Mobile’s ties to Huawei won’t leave millions of Americans vulnerable to cyber espionage.

Wade and Mulhauser write in the op-ed, “Congress must continue to ask questions and the FCC should demand enforceable conditions, including technology audits, to ensure Huawei equipment doesn’t end up in the merged company’s network in the future.”

The op-ed, “New Congress Presents Opportunities for Fresh Foreign Policy Leadership,” is available in full here.

KEY POINTS:

But no incoming class of freshmen members has been better prepared than the 2018 class to help replenish Congress’s depleted foreign policy bench.

We know Congress can do more because — over a combined three decades on Capitol Hill, at the State Department and elsewhere in the Administration — we’ve been on the giving and receiving end of vigorous congressional oversight and activism.

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Economic Policy is Foreign Policy. Those who remember the 2002 Dubai Ports World firestorm know that foreign acquisitions involving critical infrastructure can become instant flashpoints. Upcoming transactions, particularly those touching on Chinese telecom giants Huawei and ZTE are ripe for debate. The Sprint-T-Mobile merger would create America’s first 5G Network, but the companies involved have yet to provide any evidence that Huawei technology would be excluded. Even though CFIUS has signed off on this transaction, Congress must continue to ask questions and the FCC should demand enforceable conditions, including technology audits, to ensure Huawei equipment doesn’t end up in the merged company’s network in the future. After all, FCC Chairman Pai was an outspoken critic of the Trump Administration’s plan for a government-run 5G network to protect against Chinese espionage, insisting the private sector could do it better. That is a reasonable position, but on a merger touted as the key to America’s 5G future it is also fair to ask whether this merger will make Huawei more or less ubiquitous worldwide, for congressional overseers to know what assurances the companies have made and for regulators to ensure they are upholding their end of the bargain. Scrutiny of Huawei comes from both sides, from Sen. Warner (D-VA) to Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) — so bipartisan scrutiny of the merger is critical.

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These are just some tools that could empower a co-equal branch of government. And President Trump has reminded us why they’re necessary. Change can come to foreign policy — and it should. A new generation coming to Washington can put Congress back in the game.

About the Authors:

Scott Mulhauser is the founder of Aperture Strategies, the former chief of staff at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., and a former senior advisor to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. David Eckels Wade is the founder of GreenLight Strategies, the former chief of staff at the US Department of State and former chief of staff to the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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