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Computers

White House official wants to delay Huawei ban, report says

He reportedly wants another two years before the company is completely banned.

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Huawei might get a short reprieve by the US government. 

Angela Lang/CNET

President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act in August 2018, banning government use of Huawei tech. But at least one government official says federal contractors aren't ready to ditch the Chinese company.

Russel T. Vought, the acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, requested a two-year reprieve for Huawei, according to The Wall Street Journal. Vought reportedly sent a letter dated June 4 to Vice President Mike Pence and nine members of Congress saying the ban would cause a "dramatic reduction" in companies that supply the government. It'd also affect companies in rural areas that receive federal grants and loans, and who use more Huawei technology, according to the Journal.

Vought reportedly requested a span of four years, rather than two, from the passage of the NDAA before the Chinese company tech is barred from US government usage. A spokesperson for the office told the Journal that this request wouldn't go against the policy of Huawei no longer being allowed to do business in the US.

"This is about ensuring that companies who do business with the US government or receive federal grants and loans have time to extricate themselves from doing business with Huawei and other Chinese tech companies listed in the NDAA," an OMB spokesperson said in an emailed statement. 

Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, raised concerns over Vought's request Tuesday.

"There is simply no reason, in my mind, for such a lengthy delay," Schumer said. "It would only extend a window of opportunity for what is already a dire threat to our national security."

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In May, Trump issued a national security order banning Huawei from the US. Google, Facebook and other US tech companies have since broken ties with the Chinese company.

Huawei and the Office of Management and Budget didn't immediately reply to requests for comment.

Originally published June 10.
Update, June 10: Adds quote. June 11: Adds Schumer quote.