TikTok Bill Is Bundled With Aid to Ukraine and Israel

The House on Wednesday made another push to force through legislation that would require the sale of TikTok by its Chinese owner or ban the app in the United States, accelerating an effort to disrupt the popular social media app.

The measure, a modified version of a stand-alone bill that the House passed last month, will be considered alongside a package of foreign aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, according to text of the legislation released by House leadership.

While the new legislation would still require TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, to sell the app to owners that resolved national security concerns, it includes an option to extend the deadline for a sale to nine months from the original six months. The president could extend the deadline by another 90 days if progress toward a sale was being made.

House lawmakers are expected to vote Saturday on a package of legislation that includes the TikTok ban and other bills popular with Republicans, a maneuver intended to induce lawmakers to vote for the foreign aid. If the package passes, the measures will be sent as a single bill to the Senate, which could vote soon after. President Biden has said he’ll sign TikTok legislation into law if it reaches his desk.

The move “to package TikTok is definitely unusual, but it could succeed,” said Paul Gallant, a policy analyst for the financial services firm TD Cowen. He added that “it’s a bit of brinkmanship” to try to force an up-or-down vote without further negotiation with the Senate.

The new effort is the most aggressive yet by legislators to wrest TikTok from its Chinese ownership over national security concerns. They cite the potential for Beijing to demand that TikTok turn over U.S. users’ data or to use the app for propaganda. The earlier House bill faced skepticism in the Senate over concerns that it would not hold up to a legal challenge.

TikTok has said that the national security concerns are unfair and that it has spent more than $1 billion on a detailed plan for its U.S. operations that would wall off user data and offer third-party oversight of its content recommendations.

TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

TikTok has significant sway over culture and politics and is used by 170 million people every month in the United States. The company has said it has almost 7,000 employees in the United States.

Uncertainty over whether the Senate would take up the legislation passed by the House in March has set off an aggressive lobbying effort in the Senate and weeks of pressure on senators to advance the bill. By bundling the TikTok legislation with the high-profile aid for Ukraine and Israel, House leaders could force the Senate’s hand.

If the measure is signed into law, it is likely to face weeks or months of legal challenges. Federal judges blocked a 2020 attempt by President Donald J. Trump to ban TikTok or force its sale. Last year, a federal judge temporarily blocked a statewide ban of TikTok from taking effect in Montana, preventing the nation’s first such prohibition.

Other challenges remain, including the chance that Beijing could block a sale of TikTok. The app is expected to command a high sale price that would be out of reach for many possible buyers.

The campaign to force the sale of TikTok has united lawmakers with administration officials who share their national security worries. The White House said it had provided assistance to lawmakers as they drafted the legislation that passed the House in March.

Officials from the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence briefed lawmakers in the House and Senate about their concerns, adding fuel to the effort to pass the bill. Portions of those briefings are still classified.

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