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Defying Trump, GOP Moves Forward with TikTok Restrictions | More Than Finances
Friday, May 17, 2024

Defying Trump, GOP Moves Forward with TikTok Restrictions

In a surprise move, House Republicans are set to vote on a bill that targets Chinese-owned TikTok despite previous President Donald J. Trump’s clear disagreement with the move. 

Trump has previously pledged to ban TikTok but recently switched his stance on the social media behemoth.

A Bipartisan Effort

Trump Tiktok
Credits: DepositPhotos

This week, the Republican majority leader, Representative Steve Scalise, affirmed the House’s plans to advance the bill using special procedures set for non-controversial legislation. 

This legislation requires a two-thirds majority to pass and highlights escalating concerns from both political parties about China’s increasing power. “The Chinese government should not exploit TikTok to target American users and our government,” Scalise said.

The 13-page bill, born from the collaboration of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, mandates the Chinese owners of TikTok to either sell their stakes or face a ban in the US. The House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously advanced the legislation last week.

However, the former president opposes the bill, putting his ability to thwart bipartisan legislation while on the campaign trail to the test.

Read More: China’s New Directive: Insolvent Property Giants to Face Bankruptcy Amid Sector Shake-Up

Trump’s Change of Heart

Trump’s sudden change of direction on the TikTok issue rested on his view that banning the app could potentially frustrate young voters and inadvertently empower Facebook, which he termed an “enemy of the people.” Trump admitted, “There’s a mix of good and bad with TikTok. 

But the problem is with the absence of TikTok, we give Facebook more power, and I see them as an enemy of the people.”

The reaction to Trump’s flip-flop on the bill is yet to be seen. It has raised eyebrows among lawmakers who were irked last week after TikTok users were urged to bombard congressional phone lines with calls urging members not to remove the platform.

Tensions and Conflicts

Credits: DepositPhotos

The proposed TikTok restrictions are one among several moves this year aimed at reigning in TikTok. Fears surge concerning ByteDance’s (the parent company of TikTok) ties with Beijing, which are deemed potentially harmful to national security. President Biden expressed his support for the bill.

The bill’s endorsement by the No. 3 Republican, Representative Elise Stefanik, sparks more controversy, as her name is often associated with Trump’s potential running mates.

Trump’s vocal opposition to the upcoming TikTok legislation is not his first; he recently continued his influence on Republicans to scupper a crucial bipartisan immigration bill in the Senate.

Also Read: U.S. Congress Passes Crucial Spending Package to Prevent Government Shutdown

Future Implications

The potential consequences of the bill remain murky, particularly how it will be received in the Senate, where majority leader Senator Chuck Schumer has not committed to bringing it up.

In a rare show of unity, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers concur on the risk posed by TikTok. They believe ByteDance’s control over TikTok presents significant threats to national security.

However, following the bill’s smooth passage through a House committee last week, Trump vented his opposition on his own social media platform, Truth Social, arguing that removing TikTok would only strengthen Facebook’s business.

With no clear direction on the bill’s looming vote and Trump’s renewed opposition, the TikTok saga continues to evolve, underscoring the delicate balance between security concerns and freedom of expression in the digital age.

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