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House passes legislation that could lead to a TikTok ban

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill voted on the legislation during a Saturday floor session, jammed into a significant foreign aid package.
House passes legislation that could lead to a TikTok ban
Posted at 11:44 AM, Apr 20, 2024

If TikTok's China-based owner doesn’t sell its stake within a year, legislation passed on Saturday by the House would force a ban on the popular social media platform in the United States. 

There was a series of votes on Saturday to decide on three aid bills, for Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific. 

In the language being voted on over the weekend was a fourth piece of legislation that contains multiple other foreign policy proposals, including a clampdown ByteDance, owner of the popular social media platform TikTok.

Lawmakers were trying to fast-track the efforts to push through a ban by merging the legislation with foreign aid, and it seemed to work as support appeared to increase fast, with a final vote to pass it in the early afternoon on Saturday.

The bill is framed as a national security bill, and it's in the name of national security that lawmakers want to decouple TikTok from China. The national security bill tackles issues related to Russia, China and Iran, including new sanctions against all three countries. 

The bill also allows the U.S. government to seize Russian assets and send that funding to Ukraine, targets criminal organizations trafficking fentanyl, and forces TikTok's parent company to sell the app or face a ban in the U.S.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin released a statement Saturday writing, "We have seen yet again that the troubles of our times will only worsen without strong, steady U.S. leadership to advance our core security interests."

SEE MORE: TikTok to start banning 'problematic' content from its For You feed

Republican House leaders revealed the plan this week to slip in the crackdown on TikTok — seen by some as unconventional in Washington — and move the bill as a whole forward to President Joe Biden's desk after it sat stalled in the Senate, the Washington Post reported

The bill, which had appeared more likely than not to pass — including with the TikTok restrictions — could be signed into law as soon as next week, the Associated Press reported. But, not all lawmakers remained confident that the app would go away, especially anytime soon. 

The latest version of the measure will now head to the Senate after a compromise was reached. 

President Biden said Saturday, "I urge the Senate to quickly send this package to my desk so that I can sign it into law."

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