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US lawmakers make new push to ban TikTok

The House has again passed legislation that would shut down the video-sharing platform if its Chinese owner doesn’t sell it

The US House of Representatives has come up with a new strategy for forcing through a bill requiring TikTok to be sold or banned: tying the initiative to emergency spending on the Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas conflicts.

The latest legislation targeting TikTok passed by a 360-58 House vote on Saturday. It would give the video-sharing platform’s Chinese parent company, ByeDance, nine months to sell the fast-growing business or risk having it barred from US app stores.

House lawmakers passed a similar bill in March, saying TikTok was a “national security threat” because of its Chinese ownership. Supporters of the legislation are betting that by bundling it with several emergency spending bills passed on Saturday – including military aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan – they can force the Senate to approve it in an all-or-nothing vote.

US President Joe Biden has said that he will sign the TikTok bill into law if it passes both houses of Congress. He and his Senate allies may be unable to resist approving the bundled security legislation after struggling for six months to win passage of additional Ukraine aid in the Republican-controlled House.

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TikTok has lobbied against the legislation, saying it would trample the free-speech rights of its 170 million US users and harm the 7 million small businesses that rely on the platform. By combining the initiative with other bills, the House is “using the cover of important foreign and humanitarian assistance,” the company said.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) pushed through a wave of security-related bills on Saturday, including the various aid packages and legislation authorizing the Biden administration to liquidate seized Russian assets and give the proceeds to Ukraine.

The aid bills provide funding for $95 billion in emergency spending, including $61 billion for Ukraine. The Ukraine bill passed by a margin of 311-112 as unanimous support from Democrat lawmakers enabled Johnson to override opposition in his own party.

READ MORE: Trump comments on why he didn’t ban TikTok

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) called Saturday’s vote “despicable,” saying Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky had become “Mike Johnson’s puppet master.” She added, “Not only is Mike Johnson a traitor to our conference, he’s a traitor to our country.”



April 21, 2024 at 01:13AM

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