New Bill Tweak Boosts Odds of TikTok Divestment


House Speaker Mike Johnson is ramping up efforts to extricate TikTok from Chinese government influence, and a crucial tweak to the bill is already garnering support, potentially propelling it closer to President Biden’s desk.

The revised bill grants China’s ByteDance a one-year window to divest TikTok or face a U.S. ban, extending the previous six-month deadline. With the bill officially released and a potential House vote looming, Senate momentum is building, notably with Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell now backing the measure after advocating for the extended divestment period.

Cantwell’s endorsement aligns with influential senators like Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), paving the way for a Senate vote. However, the bill’s passage remains uncertain amid a complex legislative landscape, as it forms part of a broader agenda including issues like aid to Israel and Ukraine and asset sales from Russian oligarchs.

While Speaker Johnson faces internal challenges, progress on the TikTok front signals imminent action. The bill’s enactment would initiate a process potentially resulting in the ban of a significant news source for millions of young Americans, amid concerns about data privacy and Chinese government influence.

ByteDance refutes claims of government control, lamenting the bill’s encroachment on free speech rights. Meanwhile, reports suggest Chinese diplomats are lobbying Capitol Hill to stall momentum on the legislation, underscoring the geopolitical tensions surrounding TikTok’s future.

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