House to Vote This Week on Bill That Could Ban TikTok

House to Vote This Week on Bill That Could Ban TikTok
The TikTok logo at a TikTok office in Culver City, Calif., on Dec. 20, 2022 (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The House will hold a vote this week on a bill that would make the social media app TikTok free from the influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), as two U.S. organizations urge Representatives to vote yes on the legislation.

The House vote is scheduled to take place as early as Wednesday and will require a two-thirds majority to pass, as the bill is being considered under an expedited process known as suspension of the rules. The bill, titled the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act (H.R.7521), advanced from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce after receiving a unanimous vote on March 7.

If enacted, the legislation would ban app stores from making TikTok available, unless the app is “fully divested” by its Chinese-owned parent company ByteDance and the app is not controlled by a China-based entity.

In China, the CCP can compel Chinese companies to hand over data collected within China and elsewhere to China’s intelligence agencies, under Chinese laws, such as the National Intelligence Law.

The House bill was introduced on March 5 by 19 members of the House Select Committee on the CCP, including Chair Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and ranking member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.).

The timing of the legislation has coincided with warnings about TikTok from a report released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) on March 11. The 2024 annual assessment from ODNI warned that “TikTok accounts run by a PRC propaganda arm reportedly targeted candidates from both political parties during the U.S. midterm election cycle in 2022.” PRC is the acronym for the People’s Republic of China.

“The PRC may attempt to influence the U.S. elections in 2024 at some level because of its desire to sideline critics of China and magnify U.S. societal divisions,” ODNI added.

In response to the ODNI warning, Mr. Krishnamoorthi took to social media platform X, saying, “Allowing TikTok to remain under the CCP’s control puts our election systems at risk.”


House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), who previously called the legislation a “critical national security bill,” didn’t say much about the legislation when asked by reporters on Monday, but said “Yes” when asked if it will be passed.

While the legislation enjoys bipartisan support, some lawmakers were not ready to give their backing when asked by The Epoch Times on Monday.

House Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good (R-Va.) said he was “leaning towards voting in favor” of the legislation. Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) said “I’m very likely to support it.”

Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) said he was undecided. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) and Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) said they were still reading the legislation.

Meanwhile, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said he was “totally against” the legislation.

“I don’t want to give the President the power to decide which apps he wants to allow on my phone or not,” Mr. Massie said. “If you ban it, there’ll be a private company, taking all that same information and selling it anyway.”

Mr. Massie recommended a bill that “generically covers all spying and collection of our private data that shouldn’t be done.”

“I think generally, I think most Democrats will tell you we’re not for banning an app, but there’s the legitimate data privacy concern, figuring out what the best way to deal with that is important,” Rep. Greg Casar (D-Texas) said.

President Joe Biden has said that he would sign the bill if Congress passes it. On the other hand, President Donald Trump has expressed apprehensions that banning TikTok would favor rivals such as Facebook, even though he agreed that the Chinese app presents a threat to U.S. national security.

Some senators also spoke to The Epoch Times about the bill on Monday.

“I’m concerned about TikTok because they are vacuuming up personal information from users and it’s going straight to the Chinese Communist Party under existing laws,” Sen.  John Cornyn (R-Texas) said. He also wondered whether another media company would spring up, replace TikTok, and do the same thing.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said he was “very happy that bill was moving.” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he hadn’t seen the House bill. “I don’t have a problem” with the idea of divestiture, he added.


TikTok has tried to mobilize its U.S. users in a campaign against the House bill via pop-up alerts, urging them to call their House lawmakers immediately.

In response, Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Krishnamoorthi sent a letter to TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew, urging him to stop the campaign. The pair said TikTok has been “spreading false claims in its campaign to manipulate and mobilize American citizens on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Heritage Action, the advocacy arm of Washington-based think tank Heritage Foundation, announced on March 11 that it is supporting the House bill.

“This bill prioritizes addressing the uniquely threatening conduct, influence, and structure of TikTok, not the content posted by Americans that the application hosts,” the group wrote in a statement.

“H.R. 7521 represents an important step in limiting the CCP’s growing infiltration and exploitation of Americans. A vote against this measure is a vote in support of continued Chinese surveillance of U.S. citizens.”

In a letter to House lawmakers, Brent Gardner, chief government affairs officer of Virginia-based nonprofit Americans for Prosperity, urged them to “vote YES” on the House bill.

“Applications controlled by ByteDance, including TikTok, serve as conduits for potential surveillance and manipulation of American citizens, posing significant risks to data security and public discourse,” Mr. Gardner wrote.

“This legislation represents a sophisticated and targeted response to a genuine national security threat while avoiding unnecessary entanglements or repercussions for tech platforms and companies.”

From The Epoch Times

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