TikTok Bill: Sen. Mitch McConnell Backs Push for Chinese Divestment

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called for the Senate to vote on the House bill that would require the Chinese-based ByteDance to divest from TikTok for the app to remain available in the United States, Reuters reported.

McConnell said last Monday that requiring “Beijing-influenced entities” to divest from TikTok was in line with “established constitutional precedent.” He argued that the legislation would be a first step in turning back the tide “of an enormous threat to America’s children.”

McConnell said TikTok allowed “America’s greatest strategic rival” to threaten US security “right here on US soil in tens of millions of American homes.”

The Republican-led House approved the measure last month in a 352-65 vote, despite facing overwhelming pushback from TikTok and its young users who flooded the House switchboard demanding that the lawmakers oppose the bill.

The bill would ban any social media platform owned by China, Russia, Iran, or North Korea unless the platform is sold to a US company.

Senator Maria Cantwell, the chair of the Commerce Committee, told reporters on Monday that she would be meeting with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner to discuss a “game plan on how to proceed” with the legislation.

In an April 5 statement, Leader Schumer said the Senate would be moving forward on several bipartisan bills including the House’s TikTok bill.

Senator Cantwell told Reuters that the priority was “getting a tool” that could be used to prevent foreign actors from harming US citizens.

TikTok, ByteDance, and Beijing vehemently oppose the House bill.

The social media company said in early April that banning the platform “would violate the First Amendment rights of 170 million Americans.”

Wang Wenbin, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman last month accused lawmakers of trying to undermine investor confidence and disrupt TikTok’s operations.