The White Home’s endorsement of a invoice that may give the Biden administration new powers to limit or ban TikTok in the US marks a big shift within the White Home’s method to the Chinese language-owned social media app.
It’s additionally a transfer that the White Home has been actively mulling for a number of weeks whereas working with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to draft the laws, Democratic and Republican aides stated.
A dozen US senators unveiled laws on Tuesday known as the Limiting the Emergence of Safety Threats that Threat Info and Communications Know-how (RESTRICT) Act. The invoice doesn’t goal TikTok particularly for a ban. However it goals to offer the US authorities new powers, as much as and together with a ban, in opposition to foreign-linked producers of electronics or software program that the Commerce Division deems to be a nationwide safety threat.
The invoice was drafted in shut session with the White Home’s Nationwide Safety Council in addition to the Commerce, Treasury and Justice Departments, based on aides accustomed to the method.
The Nationwide Safety Council and Division of Justice proposed particular modifications to the textual content of the laws, a few of which have been adopted, based on a Democratic and a Republican aide.
The White Home’s involvement within the drafting of the invoice marked a shift, following greater than two years throughout which the administration’s Committee on International Investments in the US, or CFIUS, has sought to barter a cope with TikTok to handle US nationwide safety issues about Chinese language possession of the favored social media app.
These talks have but to yield a deal. And the brand new laws might give the White Home important new leverage in these talks or just empower the administration to resolve the state of affairs unilaterally.
The White Home’s rapid-fire endorsement of the invoice got here within the type of an announcement from Nationwide Safety Adviser Jake Sullivan, who stated it would empower the administration “to forestall sure overseas governments from exploiting know-how companies working in the US in a means that poses dangers to Individuals’ delicate information and our nationwide safety.”
The White Home’s involvement in drafting the laws and its endorsement of the invoice comes amid mounting stress on Capitol Hill to take a extra aggressive stance, together with a invoice by Sen. Marco Rubio that may outright ban TikTok.
A Democratic aide stated the White Home acknowledged the necessity for congressional motion and determined to throw their help behind Democratic Sen. Mark Warner and Republican Sen. John Thune’s method, which might empower the administration with out requiring it to ban the app.
“We respect that some members of Congress stay keen to discover choices for addressing nationwide safety issues that don’t have the impact of censoring hundreds of thousands of Individuals,” Brooke Oberwetter, a spokesperson for TikTok, stated in an announcement concerning the laws. “A U.S. ban on TikTok is a ban on the export of American tradition and values to the billion-plus individuals who use our service worldwide.”
– ’s Brian Fung contributed to this report.