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White House hopes Senate takes ‘swift action’ on TikTok bill

The White House on Wednesday urged the Senate to take “swift action” on House-passed legislation that would force TikTok’s Chinese owner to sell the app or see it banned in the U.S.

“We are glad to see this bill move forward,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One after the bill passed the House by a vote of 352-65 earlier Wednesday.

“We will look to the Senate to take swift action,” Jean-Pierre added. “As we have said … this bill is important, and we welcome ongoing efforts to address the threat posed by certain technology services operating in the United States that put at risk Americans’ personal information and broader national security, including through the manipulation by foreign powers of Americans’ views and beliefs.”

Jean-Pierre said the White House hopes the Senate “takes action and takes this up very quickly.” The administration will provide “technical support” with the legislation, she said, including to make sure the bill is on strong legal footing.

The bill would force ByteDance, TikTok’s China-based parent company, to divest itself of the app within roughly five months of going into effect, or be banned from U.S. app stores and web hosting services.

Supporters of the bill say it aims to curb national security risks posed by ByteDance, which they say could share sensitive data from American users with the Chinese government.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday the Senate “will review” the House-passed bill, but he was noncommittal about bringing the legislation to the floor.

TikTok has pushed back on accusations that it poses national security risks and strongly opposed the legislation. The Biden campaign has a presence on the app, which is particularly popular with younger Americans.

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