Senate Wavers on the Anti-TikTok Bill

After initial enthusiasm, a bipartisan Senate bill designed to restrict TikTok may have met with some ambivalence from lawmakers, according to Politico.

The RESTRICT Act, which would give the Commerce Department and the White House new powers to ban or limit Chinese communications and technology products, is considered integral to the Biden administration’s goal of banning the Chinese-owned app, TikTok. The bill would deprive the app of a legal defense it utilized in defeating the Trump administration’s attempted ban.

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The bill’s sponsors, Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and John Thune (R-SD), convinced 20 other senators to support it, but recently, key senators have expressed a lack of enthusiasm, Politico reported, citing a right-wing Republican backlash. House Republicans claimed that the bill does not go far enough and are spreading misinformation, according to Politico.

“I said it’s a start, saying that the Commerce secretary might play a larger role,” Senate Commerce Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) told reporters, adding that she didn’t yet know if the breadth of the bill’s restrictions on Chinese and other foreign tech were cause for concern and that her attention is focused elsewhere. “My primary concern is we need a data privacy bill.”

Generally, Conservatives have been the loudest proponents of a TikTok ban, but some have claimed lately that it would constitute a restriction of personal freedoms, according to Politico.

Also, Warner defended the bill against claims that it would undermine free speech and expand government surveillance. Other anti-TikTok bills, including the DATA Act and the ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act are being talked about in the House, Politico reported.

“The Warner-Thune bill just doesn’t have a lot of teeth to it, and it keeps the algorithms in Beijing,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas), who sponsored the DATA Act.