The Senate approved a potential ban on TikTok, sending it to Biden who is expected to sign it.

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Congress late Tuesday passed legislation to ban or force the sale of TikTok, marking a historic rebuke to Chinese ownership of the video-sharing platform after years of failed efforts to address the app’s alleged national security risks. .

The Senate approved the measure 79 to 18 as part of a broader package offer. Aid to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan, the proposal was sent to President Biden’s desk – the House approved it on Saturday. Biden released a statement minutes after the Senate vote, saying he plans to sign the bill on Wednesday.

Once signed, the stipulation would give TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, about nine months to sell the wildly popular app or face a national ban, which the president could extend by up to 90 days. are

What to Know About TikTok Owner ByteDance

The move — which has broad bipartisan support — is the most significant threat yet to the app’s operations in the United States, where it has more than 170 million users and has become an economic and cultural powerhouse. Lawmakers pushing for the ban have cited concerns that the company’s ownership structure could allow the Chinese government to access Americans’ data, claims that TikTok is controversial.

TikTok is expected to challenge the move, setting off a high-stakes and potentially lengthy legal battle that will test the company’s argument that any such law would violate the free speech rights of millions of people. will violate But its frantic efforts to derail the proposal — including pushing users to file complaints with their congressional representatives and running ads about TikTok’s data security efforts just days after the final vote — have drawn lawmakers attention. have failed to convince

“It’s unfortunate that the House of Representatives is once again using up important foreign and humanitarian aid cover with a bill that would infringe on the free speech rights of 170 million Americans,” TikTok said. said in a statement Previous Week.

For half a decade, U.S. lawmakers have investigated the relationship between TikTok and Beijing-based ByteDance over concerns that it could expose U.S. user data to surveillance by the Chinese government. In response, TikTok has proposed a plan to protect American data called Project Texas, which would involve storing that information with American tech giant Oracle. As negotiations between TikTok and the federal government collapsed, however, lawmakers reactivated legislation authorizing the executive branch to restrict the platform.

“It’s been a long and winding road,” Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), one of the legislation’s biggest supporters in the chamber, told The Washington Post on Tuesday.

The efforts escalated last month after a bipartisan group of House lawmakers unveiled and quickly approved a stand-alone version of the TikTok divest or ban legislation, which would have banned ByteDance from the platform. Provided a small window to sell.

The push appeared though Within days, members of Congress and members of the Biden administration had been working for months to craft the latest bill and build its base of support, according to interviews with key lawmakers and a half-dozen senior Capitol Hill aides. spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private negotiations.

In March 2023, lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee surrounded TikTok CEO Xu Zhiqiu to testify about the company’s relationship with China, a heated session in which lawmakers across the political spectrum rejected the company’s assurances that it would lock down Americans’ user data. Take steps to prevent any foreign influence from China and on the platform. Chiu’s controversial appearance sheds new light on several proposals aimed at separating TikTok from ByteDance.

But lawmakers on the House Select Committee on China went “back to the drawing board” last year to hammer out a possible compromise, even after some Democrats and Republicans dealt setbacks to some of the widely supported bills, Rep. Raja Krishnamurthy said. -Ill.), one of the main sponsors of the TikTok legislation poised to be signed into law.

Krishnamurthy, the top Democrat on the China Select Committee, and Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) spent months developing a framework with leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the scope of the bill to address those concerns. Reduced that earlier iterations also damaged the government. Too much discretion over which apps to limit or ban, according to two senior House Republican aides. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) played a key role in calling members of various committees that aimed to get support for TikTok behind the scenes, an aide said. Gallagher and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was not available for an interview Tuesday.

In the months leading up to the bill’s introduction, lawmakers brought administration officials into negotiations, several aides said, with the Justice Department offering important information about how lawmakers could counter legal challenges to TikTok. A senior Republican favors the bill. said domestic helpers.

“We said we need to get the White House and the Department of Justice into the planning as soon as possible so we can understand the technical challenges associated with the legislation,” Krishnamurthy said.

House lawmakers won support for the bill, in part, by combining it with legislation to prevent foreign adversaries from buying Americans’ personal information from data brokers, an issue that has been publicly under the radar. has flown down but has long raised privacy concerns among key lawmakers. Two senior House Democratic aides. The proposal, led by Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (DN.J.), was included in the foreign aid package along with the TikTok bill. If signed, the data broker bill would be one of the most significant pieces of privacy legislation passed by Congress in years, where lawmakers have failed to enact nationwide laws.

Because of that legwork, House lawmakers were able to quickly move the legislation through committee and pass it on the floor less than a week after it was introduced last month, several aides said.

“The fire looked like it had been put out, but the embers were still unusually hot,” said Brandon Carr, a Republican on the Federal Communications Commission who has been a vocal critic of TikTok and Those targeting the company have close ties with lawmakers.

After the House passed the stand-alone bill, many senators initially expressed concerns about fast-tracking. That included Senate Commerce Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), who opened a hearing on the topic before taking action.

But after congressional leaders updated the bill to give Byte Dance more time to break away from Tik Tok, support in the Senate grew. Cantwell, one of several Democrats who have publicly raised the issue, said during a floor speech Tuesday that the new timeframe would “allow potential investors to come forward” with a bid to buy ByteDance’s app. Will give enough time. Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), Cantwell’s Republican counterpart on the Commerce Committee, called the TikTok provision “incredibly important to our national security” on Tuesday.

Even so, a mix of liberal Democrats and libertarian Republicans in both chambers continue to oppose the legislation over concerns that it gives the federal government too much power to restrict businesses or that it would curtail online speech. does, including Sens. Edward J. Markey (D)-Mass.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

Markey spoke “in defense of TikTok users” on the Senate floor on Tuesday, warning that the bill would “potentially block the most popular application among young people in this country.” Markey argued that the company’s chances of separating from Byte Dance in a year were “extremely slim”.

Paul, who has fended off some past attempts to target the app, wrote in an op-ed last week that the bill would “infringe on the First Amendment rights” of TikTok users and “allow the government to allow other companies to will authorize the sale of

Ultimately, lawmakers were able to tie a potentially lengthy and contentious debate in the Senate to approving foreign aid that already had significant bipartisan support.

“If you would have asked me six months ago, three months ago if I could have predicted that this would be the way it would be, I never would have,” Warner said. “Sometimes making sausage actually works.”

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