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Cardin ‘sympathetic’ to TikTok bill: ‘I’d like to see us get to the finish line’

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.) signaled he was open to supporting the House-passed bill that could ban TikTok but that it still must undergo the Senate process and might see some changes included.

“I’m certainly sympathetic to it. Let’s see how it goes through the Senate process. But yes, I think we need to put guardrails in regards to the ownership of TikTok,” Cardin said in an interview on NBC News’s “Meet the Press.”

The House passed a bill that would force TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, to divest the app within 165 days or face a ban in the United States. The bill passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority and now heads to the Senate, where its fate is unclear.

Cardin acknowledged the national security concerns, but he said there are other issues – like children’s safety on social media platforms in general – that might be added to the bill.

“I think we’ll see how the Senate wants to take this up and consider it there, as I said, there are issues concerning safety for our children,” Cardin said. “So there’s some other issues that may get combined with this.”

“I’ll be working with my colleagues, but I’d like to see us get to the finish line and provide the guardrails that are necessary,” he said.

Cardin outlined some of his chief concerns.

“We are concerned about what TikTok does with this information, whether they could use it against Americans and use vague privacy and compromise our national security. Our concern is on the ownership of TikTok. It’s not on those that are using it. It’s not on freedom of speech or content. It’s solely on ownership,” he said.

“We have concerns on all the social media platforms as to safety, particularly for our children. So there’s some broader issues, but TikTok’s concern is whether the Chinese will be using it against our national security interest,” he continued.

Cardin’s interview follows Sen. Bill Cassidy’s (R-La.) appearance on the show, where Cassidy similarly signaled an openness to supporting the legislation.

“I’d like to see the final language, but I’m certainly predisposed to vote for it. Anyone that doesn’t think that the Chinese Communist Party would like to influence how we think and our country just doesn’t understand what they do,” Cassidy said.

“I think this is consistent with what we’ve done in the past, and, by and large, I support it,” he added.

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