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Chair of Senate Commerce Endorses Revised Bill Potentially Banning TikTok

Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (Credits: Islands' Weekly)

Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) voiced her endorsement on Wednesday for a bipartisan bill aiming to compel TikTok’s Chinese parent company to sell the app or face a U.S. ban, following an update that extends the divestment period.

The legislation, known as the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversarial Controlled Applications Act, garnered broad bipartisan support in the House, passing in March shortly after its introduction. Cantwell’s support, as the chair of the Commerce Committee, paves the way for its consideration in the Senate.

TikTok Ban (Credits: The Intercept)

Expressing her satisfaction with the extension of the divestment period from six months to a year, Cantwell emphasized the necessity of allowing ample time for potential buyers to finalize deals.

She affirmed her backing for the updated legislation, acknowledging concerns raised about the initial short timeframe for divestment.

However, despite this amendment addressing some concerns, other issues may arise as the bill progresses. Progressive Democrats have criticized the legislation for potentially infringing on users’ free speech rights. The bill’s update was part of a broader legislative package revealed by House GOP leaders, dubbed the “21st Century Act.”

TikTok Ban (Credits: ABC News)

Alongside the provision mandating the forced sale of TikTok, the package includes measures such as new sanctions on Iran, military aid to Ukraine in the form of forgivable loans, and authorization for the federal government to utilize seized Russian assets to fund Ukrainian reconstruction.

TikTok has vehemently opposed the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversarial Controlled Applications Act, refuting allegations of posing national security threats.

Should the bill pass, President Biden has indicated his intention to sign it into law. However, the possibility of a ban being implemented may face legal challenges. Previous attempts to ban TikTok, including by the Trump administration and states, have been hindered in federal courts.

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