RESTRICT Act reaches support of 18 senators

By Ben Dupont / March 17, 2023 at 3:05 PM

Legislation to change the U.S. approach to regulating technology threats from foreign adversaries is picking up steam, with 18 senators now in support.

Six senators have recently co-sponsored the “Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology” bill, according to a March 17 statement from Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Mark Warner (D-VA), co-authors of the bill.

The RESTRICT bill would give the Commerce Department the authority to “review, prevent and mitigate information communications and technology transactions that pose undue risk to our national security,” according to the statement.

The senators believe moving the regulation responsibility to the Commerce Department will streamline the process, which Thune described in a statement this month as “disjointed.”

New co-sponsor Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) said in the statement that the bill “provides a holistic approach to dealing with current and emerging technologies emanating from our foreign adversaries that pose an undue risk to the national security of our country.”

Nine Democrats and nine republicans are now signed on to the bill, with the recent additions of Capito and Sens. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

Blumenthal said in a statement that “The risks are unacceptable -- foreign powers exploiting tech platforms like TikTok and Huawei to undercut our national security must be stopped.”

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has also published support for the bill in a March 7 statement.