Senators signal bipartisan backing for TikTok divestment from China

Senators on both sides of the aisle have signaled their support for taking action to force the divestment of social media app TikTok from Chinese-based ByteDance, under the threat of a U.S. ban.The move comes following a vote on Wednesday that sailed through the House with a 352-65 bipartisan split, with one member abstaining. It would force Chinese divestment from TikTok or see the app banned. Both Democrats and Republicans have expressed concerns over ByteDance’s ownership of TikTok, stressing the national security threat is serious. HOUSE GOP LEADERS TARGET BIDEN ENERGY POLICIES IN LEGISLATION BLITZ NEXT WEEKSen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said he was pleased to see the House pass the bill, adding that he looks forward to seeing the Senate proceed with it. “I have been explicit and unequivocal about my concerns about TikTok, both that it is used by the Chinese Communist Party to engage in espionage and surveillance and that it is used to push incredibly harmful propaganda, particularly on our young people,” he told Fox News Digital.  HOUSE PASSES BILL THAT COULD SEE TIKTOK BANNED IN USSen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said she wants to see the app forced to divest: “I do want to see us divest — force them to divest. We shouldn’t have those ties with Communist China,” she said. Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., echoed that sentiment, saying, “It has to be addressed.”Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who serve as chair and vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, applauded the House’s passage of the TikTok bill in a joint statement on Wednesday, saying, “We are united in our concern about the national security threat posed by TikTok.” They added that they hope to see the measure passed in the Senate and signed by President Biden.  The top senators on the intelligence committee have been sounding the alarm on the social media app for years. Warner, a Democrat, claimed in 2022 that “President Trump was right” when he sought to ban TikTok with an executive order in 2020 that was ultimately blocked by the courts. JOHNSON SAYS HOUSE WILL ‘APPLY EVERY AMOUNT OF PRESSURE’ TO SENATE TO PASS TIKTOK BILLDuring the annual Senate Intel worldwide threats hearing with various national security officials earlier this week, FBI Director Christopher Wray confirmed to Rubio that ByteDance, “the parent company is, for all intents and purposes, beholden to the CCP.””I think what we’re hearing is genuine risk,” said Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo. The senator noted he is hopeful for the Senate to take action, particularly because of the large bipartisan support evidenced by the House’s vote. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., added he also wants to see TikTok required to be divested from China so that “national security and information [and] data on ordinary Americans can be protected.”TIKTOK CEO TELLS USERS ‘PROTECT YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS’ AGAINST TIKTOK BAN IN VIDEOSen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said that he sees TikTok as “a national security threat,” adding that he wants “to make sure that we can sever that relationship” with China. Despite the high level of concern over TikTok among members of both parties, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., was vague about the bill’s fate in the upper chamber on Wednesday, and did not offer any clues on whether it would be fast-tracked in the body. “The Senate will review the legislation when it comes over from the House,” he said in a statement following the measure’s passage. REPUBLICANS UNVEIL EFFORT TO REVERSE BIDEN CLIMATE RULES TARGETING MANUFACTURINGIn 2020, Schumer notably wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, “A US company should buy TikTok so everyone can keep using it and your data is safe.””With TikTok in China, it’s subject to Chinese Communist Party laws that may require handing over data to their government,” he wrote at the time. SCHUMER SPEECH ON ISRAEL SLAMMED BY REPUBLICANS, EXPERTS AS ‘UNPRECEDENTED’ AND ‘RIDICULOUS’The House’s bill was read twice on Thursday and then referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, meaning it isn’t being fast-tracked for swift passage. Cruz said there should be “a full and open amendment process” — a criticism of the Senate’s recent proclivity for skipping procedure. However, there are concerns over the extra time afforded to TikTok and tech lobbyists as consideration of the measure is dragged out. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., criticized the flow of money from TikTok and other tech lobbyists in Congress while talking to Fox News Digital, claiming that “there ought to be a sign right there that says ‘property of Big Tech’” as he gestured toward the Senate chamber. DEMOCRATS PANICKED ABOUT THIRD-PARTY CANDIDATES SWINGING ELECTION FOR TRUMP: ‘SINGLE BIGGEST THREAT’Hawley said he hoped to see debate and a vote on the bill sometime soon. On Thursday, TikTok CEO Shou Chew told Fox News correspondent Aishah Hasnie that his team had reviewed the House bill and called it “not feasible.””This bill, in all the details you can read, go through the details, this would lead to banning of the app in the country,” he claimed. Hawley posted on X, writing, “The answer is, the CCP won’t allow a sale. Which tells you how valuable TikTok is to them.”While there appeared to be broad support for the House bill addressing TikTok, a smaller but somewhat bipartisan group of lawmakers came out against it. That group included Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J.; Rand Paul, R-Ky.; and Mike Lee, R-Utah, who warned that it could violate various constitutional amendments and increase the size and scope of the federal government. 
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