May 19, 2024

House Republicans plan to vote this week on legislation that would force the Chinese owners of TikTok to divest or be barred in the U.S., even after Donald Trump came out strongly against banning the platform.

“We must ensure the Chinese government cannot weaponize TikTok against American users and our government through data collection and propaganda,” said Representative Steve Scalise, the House majority leader.

Scalise, a Republican of Louisiana, said the House would try to speed the bill’s passage. The approach reflected the growing momentum behind the bill during an election year, when members of both parties want to show they are tough on China. President Biden has said he would sign the legislation.

But Trump, who as president once vowed to ban the platform, now vocally opposes the bill. He gave a rambling explanation for his reversal yesterday, saying that he did not want to alienate young voters or give Facebook, which he considers a nemesis, more power. The battle will test his ability to continue sinking bipartisan legislation from the campaign trail.

Context: The bill is one of several efforts over the past year aimed at curtailing TikTok because of concerns that its parent company’s relationship with Beijing poses risks to national security.

Fighting back: Last week, TikTok asked its users to flood congressional telephone lines and ask members not to shut down the platform.

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