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Senate Leader Prioritizes TikTok Legislation

 |  April 7, 2024

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has unveiled an ambitious legislative agenda for lawmakers as they prepare to return to Washington next week. Among the priorities outlined by Schumer is the advancement of legislation concerning popular social media platform TikTok.

Following a two-week recess, the Senate is gearing up for a period of legislative activity, with Schumer emphasizing the importance of progress on various bipartisan bills, including measures addressing children’s online safety, rail safety, low-income internet subsidies, cannabis banking, and strategies aimed at competing with the Chinese government.

The spotlight, however, remains on TikTok, particularly after the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly (352-65) on March 13 to grant TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, a six-month window to divest its U.S. assets or face a ban. Schumer’s statement on Friday did not explicitly endorse a specific stance on TikTok but underscored the potential for advancement on legislative fronts, including TikTok-related measures, in the coming weeks and months.

Read more: Biden Raises Concerns Over TikTok Ownership in Call with Xi Jinping

Despite the urgency surrounding TikTok, congressional aides have indicated that immediate action on the platform is not currently on the agenda, as senators engage in ongoing discussions to determine the next steps.

Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell recently hinted at the possibility of convening a public hearing to address concerns related to TikTok and the formulation of legislation aimed at mitigating potential risks associated with the platform. Cantwell emphasized the necessity of developing tools to prevent foreign entities from engaging in activities detrimental to U.S. citizens, expressing determination to make progress swiftly.

The fate of TikTok, which boasts approximately 170 million American users, has emerged as a focal point in Washington, with legislators inundated by appeals from constituents who oppose potential restrictions on the app.

Responding to the ongoing debate, TikTok issued a statement on Friday, asserting that a ban on the platform would infringe upon the First Amendment rights of millions of Americans.
Source: Reuters