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House Votes to Advance Bill Aimed at Nationwide TikTok Ban

House Votes to Advance Bill Aimed at Nationwide TikTok Ban

Apr 21, 2024

House Votes to Advance Bill Aimed at Nationwide TikTok Ban

The U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday passed a revised bill that could pave the way for a nationwide ban on the social media platform TikTok. The bill, which targets TikTok's ties to its Chinese parent company ByteDance Ltd., is now set to be considered by the Senate before it can be signed into law by President Joe Biden.

The bipartisan bill had previously been approved by the House a month ago but required changes to garner the support of Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell of Washington. The revised legislation no longer mandates ByteDance to divest from TikTok within six months, with the deadline extended to a year, following recommendations from influential lawmakers including House Speaker Mike Johnson.

Johnson strategically included the updated TikTok legislation in a broader package of bills sending funds to Ukraine and Israel, to expedite its passage amidst objections from some GOP members threatening his speakership.

President Biden has indicated a willingness to sign the bill, citing national security and data-privacy concerns. In contrast, a TikTok spokesperson has criticized the government's approach, claiming that it tramples "the free-speech rights of 170 million Americans and devastate 7 million small businesses nationwide.”

Senator Cantwell, who previously had reservations about the initial draft, showed support for the new version, emphasizing the necessity of the extended divestment period to facilitate a proper acquisition deal.

Analysts from TD Cowen have assessed the likelihood of the TikTok bill becoming law at 80%, increased from a 65% prediction the day before. The developments are considered favorable for competitors like Meta Platforms Inc., Snap Inc., and Alphabet Inc.'s Google.

The Senate is expected to address the bill shortly, with TD Cowen analysts anticipating a vote on the entire series of bills, including the TikTok measure, without the possibility of amendments. While a filibuster could delay proceedings, support from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer suggests that the bill is likely to pass.

The House vote concluded with a majority of 360 to 58 in favor of the bill, which encompasses the TikTok ban among other national-security provisions. The outcome of the Senate's consideration will determine the future of TikTok's operations in the United States.

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