Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are preparing to move forward with legislation that would curb a controversial Chinese-owned social media platform after Tiktok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified before a key House committee.
Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and John Thune (R-SD) introduced a bill this month that would create a process to review and take action against companies owned by foreign countries that are operating in the United States. The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee is expected to mark up the legislation in the coming weeks.
“It is vital for Congress to establish a process to review and mitigate the harms posed by foreign technology products that come from places like China and Russia,” the senators wrote in a joint statement on Thursday. “We are encouraged by the quick momentum and strong bipartisan support for our legislation and expect that it will only grow.”
Warner has communicated with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) about a House companion bill, according to Punchbowl News. The White House has already endorsed the Warner-Thune bill, and it has nearly 20 bipartisan sponsors.
“I think you can have a bipartisan bill on this,” McCarthy said Thursday.
“Anyone that doesn’t understand this security risk and the fact that China and their leadership wishes our country and, frankly, every nonauthoritarian country in the world ill, I think, is missing the point,” Warner said during an appearance on Fox Business on Thursday night.
Some lawmakers want to take the legislation a step further. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), the ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, has been calling for a complete ban on TikTok. His legislation, co-sponsored with Sen. Angus King (I-ME), also has bipartisan support.
“The risk is that TikTok is the only social media company that is completely controlled by the Communist Party of China,” the Florida Republican said in a video released on Thursday. “This isn’t a new issue for me. It’s time to act,” he said.