Apr 8, 2024 - Politics & Policy

McConnell urges action on bill to restrict TikTok

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) departs the Senate Chambers

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) departs the Senate Chambers. Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called for action to restrict TikTok on Monday, saying it is "a platform that is beholden to our foremost strategic competitor."

Why it matters: Momentum in the Senate has stalled for a bill that would ban TikTok in the U.S. unless Chinese parent company Bytedance sells its stake.

  • "America's greatest strategic rival is threatening our security right here on U.S. soil in tens of millions of Americans homes," McConnell said from the Senate floor on Monday afternoon.
  • "I'm speaking of course of TikTok," he continued.

Between the lines: McConnell decision to weigh in on the controversial issue could restart effort to pass legislation that could ban TikTok in the U.S.

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also included TikTok legislation as one of his priority items to get done before the November election.
  • Schumer has yet to commit to bringing the House-passed bill to the floor.
  • "This is a matter that deserves Congress' urgent attention," McConnell said. "And I'll support commonsense bipartisan steps to take one of Beijing's favorite tools of coercion and espionage off the table."

What he's saying: "PRC influence and control has been baked in from the very beginning," McConnell said of the social media app.

  • He said that forcing divestment of Chinese-owned companies from the social media company would "land squarely within established constitutional precedent."
  • Some skeptics of the House-passed bill have raised constitutional concerns around specifically naming TikTok in the legislation.
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