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Legislators said they are planning to block the ZTE deal in an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, a big defense policy bill the Senate is due to debate this week.

The president's deal with ZTE would have forced the company to pay a $1 billion penalty, reorganize its company and allow US compliance officers in exchange for being able to sell its products inside the U.S.

Once the defense legislation passes the Senate, it must be reconciled with the House version of the bill before it can be sent to the White House for Trump's signature or veto.

But Trump then announced in mid-May that he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to find a way to get ZTE back into business.

ZTE is back in business: What now?

-China relations, national security, trade and President Donald Trump's ties to fellow Republicans in the Senate.

"The fact that a bipartisan group of senators came together this quickly is a testament to how bad the Trump administration's ZTE deal is and how we will not shy away from holding the president's feet to the fire when it comes to keeping his promise to be tough on China", Schumer said.

The ban that brought the Chinese vendor to its knees was reversed by United States president Donald Trump as a favour to Chinese president Xi Jinping.

Republican and Democratic senators who support the original ZTE punishments feel strongly that ZTE's flagrant violations deserve the ultimate punishment, and not a "slap on the wrist" fine. Among other things, it would restore penalties on ZTE for violating USA export controls and bar US government agencies from purchasing or leasing equipment or services from the Chinese company.

Politico noted that the amendment spreads a wide net, with the outlet saying the language used "prohibits the federal government from doing business with ZTE or Huawei or other Chinese telecom companies". "For me, it was more than that". Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said, "China is using its telecommunications companies as means to conduct espionage".

The measure is being included as part of a package of changes agreed upon by committee leaders, meaning that the Senate is likely to include it as part of the defense bill later this week.

The Senate was expected to pass its bill as soon as this week.