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Schumer Suggests Senate May Be Slow to Consider TikTok Bill


Although the House passed legislation Wednesday that would force the sale of Chinese-owned social media app TikTok, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., quickly signaled that the upper chamber may slow consideration of the bill.


The legislation was approved by a rare bipartisan and unanimous vote March 7 in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.


The House then moved at breakneck speed to pass, by a 352-65 vote, the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act. The bill was introduced by Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill.


The legislation would force a Chinese company, ByteDance, to divest from theTikTok app if it is to continue operating in the United States because of concerns about the massively popular social media company’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party.


Critics argue that TikTok gathers data on Americans for the CCP and that the social media app has been linked to addiction. 


The version of TikTok that China allows in its own country “serves children at-home science experiments, museum exhibits, patriotism videos, and educational videos,” Carrie Sheffield, a senior fellow at Women’s Independent Voice, wrote in an op-ed published Sunday in the New York Post.


Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat, has expressed concerns with TikTok in the past.

“A U.S. company should buy TikTok so everyone can keep using it and your data is safe,” Schumer posted on X, formerly Twitter, in 2020. “This is about privacy. With TikTok in China, it’s subject to Chinese Communist Party laws that may require handing over data to their government. A safe way must be found for TikTok to continue.”


But comments made by the New York Democrat before and after passage of the House bill suggest he isn’t too eager to send the legislation to President Joe Biden’s desk for him to sign into law.


“I’ll have to consult, and intend to consult, with my relevant committee chairmen to see what their views would be,” Schumer told reporters Tuesday before the House vote, according to NBC News.


The Senate majority leader seemed fairly noncommittal after the House vote, too.

“The Senate will review the legislation when it comes over from the House,” Schumer said Wednesday, giving no timetable for when it might come up for a vote, Roll Call reported.


“Despite his relish for all things tough-on-China, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer appears poised to take his sweet time advancing the bill—if it advances at all,” Politico Playbook reported Tuesday


This uncertainty has caused proponents of the TikTok bill to criticize the top Senate Democrat.


TikTok unleashed a massive lobbying campaign to stop passage of the legislation, including sending a wave of TikTok influencers to Capitol Hill to support the Chinese-owned company.

House lawmakers’ offices were bombarded with phone calls from children and teenagers demanding that TikTok remain as it is.


“TikTok fires everybody up and then our offices are getting called with thousands of people calling up,” said Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, according to Fox Business. “Some kid called in, said they were going to commit suicide. We have people calling in saying, ‘I’m on this all day long, every day. You can’t take this away from me.’ It’s like we called into an AA meeting.”

A spokesman for China called the legislation unfair.


“The U.S. House of Representatives passing this bill lets the United States stand on the opposite side of the principles of fair competition and international trade rules,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, according to Reuters. “If so-called national security reasons can be used to willfully suppress other countries’ superior companies, there would be no fairness to speak of.”


China, however, has banned U.S. social media companies from operating there.


According to an RMG Research poll from December, most Americans favor banning TikTok.

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