According to reports, the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee voted on Wednesday across party lines to provide President Joe Biden with the power to ban TikTok.
The TikTok ban bill to provide the administration greater authority to outlaw the ByteDance-owned app and other applications deemed to pose security dangers was approved by lawmakers by a vote of 24 to 16 in favour of the legislation. Over 100 million individuals have utilized this app.
TikTok Ban Bill Supported By Republican Committee; Whereas Rejected By Democrat
The bill, supported by Republican committee chair Michael McCaul, was rejected by Democrats on the committee.
Concerns that customer data could fall into the hands of the Chinese government and endanger Western security interests have recently led to increased criticism of TikTok.
This week, the White House gave federal agencies 30 days to ensure that TikTok is not installed on any equipment or systems used by the government. TikTok has also been prohibited from being downloaded onto state-owned devices by more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, and European Union policy agencies.
The current proposal, which would grant Biden new authority to ban TikTok ban, is still in doubt and would need to clear some severe obstacles before becoming official. Before it can be sent to Biden, the Democratically controlled U.S. Senate and the entire House must approve the law.
“A U.S. ban on TikTok is a ban on the export of American culture and values to the billion people who use our service worldwide,” a TikTok spokeswoman said after the vote.
Following the vote, McCaul told sources that he anticipates the TikTok bill to be discussed on the floor “pretty soon” and put to the vote by the entire House this month.
The committee’s top Democrat, Representative Gregory Meeks, declared his adamant opposition to the bill, claiming it would “harm their allegiances all across world, introduce more companies into China’s realm, eliminate jobs in the United States, as well as outbid core American values of freedom of speech and enterprise.”
Due to concerns that user data may have been given to China’s government, the influential national security committee of the U.S. government, known as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), acknowledged that ByteDance divested TikTok in 2020.
The rules for data security have been under discussion between TikTok and CFIUS for more than two years. Defending itself against espionage claims, TikTok claimed to have invested more than $1.5 billion in strict data security measures.
Meeks stated that due to the “dangerously overbroad” nature of the restrictions placed on data transfers to China, McCaul’s measure would necessitate U.S. sanctions against Korean and Taiwanese firms who provide Chinese firms with microchips.
In addition, the American Civil Liberties Union lobbied Congress against outlawing TikTok, arguing that doing so would violate the free expression privileges of millions of Americans.
Biden Is Unsure Of Banning TikTok In Washington
When asked whether Washington would ban TikTok last month, Biden replied he was unsure.
The U.S. Energy and Commerce Committee is scheduled to hear testimony from TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew on March 23.