Biden Backs Bill That Could Ban TikTok: ‘If They Pass It, I’ll Sign It’

Congress was flooded with phone calls this week from angry teens opposing a bill that could potentially ban TikTok. President Joe Biden isn’t worried about the controversy. On Friday, he told reporters he plans to sign the legislation if it passes.

The statement comes as Biden’s likely 2024 opponent Donald Trump has started backing away from his past efforts to ban TikTok, and is now publicly defending the popular platform — a decision that some observers speculate could be related to a Republican megadonor’s financial interests in TikTok’s parent company.

Biden said Friday he would sign the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, should it pass through Congress. The bill would require TikTok’s parent company ByteDance to sell the viral video app within six months, or be blocked from being accessed in the United States.

“If they pass it, I’ll sign it,” Biden stated, according to CBS News. The legislation will move to the House floor for a vote next week, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) revealed on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday. The bill swiftly made it through the House Energy and Commerce Committee with unanimous support this week after being introduced on Tuesday.

Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party introduced the bill, which sets a goal “to protect the national security of the United States from the threat posed by foreign adversary controlled applications, such as TikTok and any successor application or service and any other application or service developed or provided by ByteDance Ltd. or an entity under the control of ByteDance Ltd.”

Should the bill be passed and signed into law, ByteDance — which is based in China — would have 165 days to dump TikTok. The app has already started to push back against the threat, prompting users to contact their representatives to urge them to vote against the bill and prevent the app from shutting down.

As Rolling Stone reported Thursday, congressional offices received a “nonstop” barrage of calls this week from “shrieking teens” (as well as “some adults”) who oppose the legislation. Around this time last year, according to TikTok, 150 million Americans were active users the app.

“Every national security official in the Biden administration has warned about the national security threat posed by TikTok under its current ownership structure,” Gallagher said. “That’s what we’re trying to get at. Not a ban, but a separation. Think of it as a surgery designed to remove the tumor from the patient and allow the patient to survive.”

Scalise has called the legislation a “critical national security bill,” but some representatives have concerns about the passing of the pursuit.

“I must express my disappointment in how rushed this process has been,” Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. stated earlier this week. “This committee has worked together on a bipartisan basis on numerous occasions to advance legislation that furthers our national security interest. Committee Democrats would have appreciated more notice and time to digest the legislation before us before it advances to a markup this afternoon.”

He added: “There are very complex constitutional concerns implicated by this bill, and I think we all would have benefitted from a more thorough process that results from regular order.”

In late February, the Biden Administration gave government agencies 30 days to remove TikTok from all federal devices and systems. Biden’s Office of Management and Budget called the guidance a “critical step forward in addressing the risks presented by the app to sensitive government data.”

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