U.S. Congressional Negotiators Reach Deal on Defense Policy Bill

U.S. Senate and House negotiators reached agreement on Monday on a $716 billion defense policy bill, which includes provisions on tightening foreign investment scrutiny and telecommunications security in addition to authorizing military funding.

The deal on the fiscal-year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act was announced by the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives Armed Services committees. It must still be passed by the full House and Senate and signed by President Donald Trump to become law.

The legislation would prohibit the U.S. government from using technology from Chinese telecommunications companies ZTE Corp or Huawei Technologies Co Ltd because of national security concerns.

Last week, lawmakers cut from the bill measures that would have reinstated sanctions on ZTE, abandoning an attempt to punish the company for illegally shipping U.S. products to Iran and North Korea.

The bill also would strengthen the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which assesses deals to ensure they do not compromise national security. It would expand the scope of transactions reviewed by the interagency panel to address security concerns.

The legislation would authorize spending $7.6 billion for 77 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets, made by Lockheed Martin Corp .

But it would prohibit delivery of the advanced aircraft to fellow NATO-member Turkey. U.S. officials have warned Ankara that the Russian system cannot be integrated into the NATO air and missile defense system. (Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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