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US House will vote on the TikTok ban; Senate outcome is unknown

13/03/2024

Reuters, WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a bill that would give ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, around six months to get rid of the app, which is used by 170 million people in the country, or risk having it banned.

With fast-track rules requiring the support of two-thirds of House members for the legislation to pass, the vote is anticipated to take place at approximately 10 a.m.

The bill was submitted just over a week ago, and there was just minimal discussion during the one public hearing before the vote. Last week, the bill was approved 50-0 by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, paving the way for a vote by the entire House.

Members of the House were given a classified briefing on Tuesday by the FBI, Justice Department, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

“We’ve addressed a number of member inquiries. Today, we attended a confidential briefing. In order for members to be able to see even more information regarding the risks and how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) can endanger American families,” stated House Majority Leader Steve Scalise.

Legislative opponents, such as Democratic Representative Maxwell Frost, believe the bill will pass. Frost stated that he supports the intention of many MPs to safeguard users, which is the reason they will vote in favour of the bill. Out of the 432 members of the House, Frost was one of four MPs who opposed the bill at a news conference.

“The problem is the process here, the fact that it’s been steamrolled and people really can’t digest the consequences,” Frost stated. “I would like to see TikTok ownership changed, but not at the expense of our First Amendment rights, business owners and content creators.”

The U.S. Senate is debating the measure, and some senators want to adopt an alternative course of action.

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