House GOP to Proceed with TikTok Bill Despite Trump’s Opposition, Could Result in App Ban

Credits: The Courier-Journal

The House is moving forward with a bill that could ban TikTok, despite opposition from former President Trump. The bipartisan bill, titled the “Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act,” is set for a vote this week under a special rule that requires a two-thirds majority for passage.

The bill, introduced by Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), aims to force ByteDance, TikTok’s China-based parent company, to divest the app or face a ban in the U.S. It also lays out a process for banning other apps found to be controlled by U.S. adversaries.

Supporters of the bill argue that TikTok poses national security threats by potentially allowing the Chinese government access to sensitive American user data. They emphasize that the bill is not an outright ban, as it gives ByteDance 165 days to divest TikTok before facing a ban on U.S. app stores and web hosting services.

House GOP Members (Credits: The New Yorker)

However, the bill faces opposition from both sides of the aisle. Former President Trump, who previously tried to ban TikTok during his presidency, has spoken out against the bill, arguing that banning TikTok would benefit Facebook. Trump has also raised concerns about national security threats posed by American tech companies that deal with China.

In addition to Trump’s opposition, the bill has faced criticism from conservative groups like FreedomWorks, which called it a “dangerous precedent.” Some prominent Republicans, including Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), have also expressed concerns about the bill.

House GOP Members (Credits: NY1)

On the left, groups like the ACLU and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University have raised First Amendment concerns, arguing that the bill could infringe on free speech rights.

Despite the opposition, the bill has garnered strong bipartisan support in the House, advancing with a rare unanimous vote out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. President Biden has indicated that he would sign the bill if it is passed by Congress.

It remains to be seen if the bill has a viable path forward in the Senate, where some lawmakers have called for a more “surgical” approach. However, with key Republican support and Trump’s opposition, the bill could potentially pass the Senate and be signed into law by Biden.

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