TikTok Ban Legislation Passed by US Senate Supermajority

The U.S. Senate has passed its own version of the bill that will ban TikTok in the United States unless parent company ByteDance divests from the company completely. The measure will now be handed off to President Biden, who has promised to sign it.

The bill has unusual bipartisan support, passing by a 79-18 supermajority in the Senate just days after the House of Representatives passed similar legislation.

Once Biden has signed the bill into law, ByteDance will have 270 days to sell the company. ByteDance has pledged to fight the legislation in court, which will likely extend the length of time before an outright ban would go into effect.

The bill also includes $60 billion in aid to Ukraine, $28 billion to Israel, and another $8 billion in aid to Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific.

Just before the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer celebrated the aid approval. He said, “Finally, finally, finally. Tonight after more than six months of hard work, and many twists and turns in the road, America sends a message to the entire world: We will not turn our back on you.”

In February the Senate passed legislation that would have funded the $95 billion aid package but failed to include anything about TikTok, though it appeared warm to the idea of a ban. A previous version of the bill from the House of Representatives would have given ByteDance only 6 months to divest from the app.

ByteDance has disputed claims that sensitive user data could be breached by China, and noted that its offices are in Singapore and LA. ByteDance has also emphasized that sixty percent of its ownership is made up of “global institutional investors such as Carlyle Group, General Atlantic, and Susquehanna International Group” and that another twenty percent of the company is owned by employees.

In March President Biden told reporters he will pass a TikTok ban if it makes its way to his desk.

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