The Senate’s new bipartisan TikTok invoice might be unveiled on Tuesday
WASHINGTON — A much-anticipated bipartisan Senate bill that would give the president the power to respond to threats from TikTok and similar companies will be presented Tuesday afternoon by Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner, a spokeswoman for the committee told CNBC.
The Virginia Democrat will hold a press conference at 3 p.m. ET with Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the lead co-sponsor of the legislation.
The exact text of the law has yet to be released, but Warner suggested last weekend that the bill would go beyond just restricting TikTok, which is owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance.
“With regard to foreign technology coming into America, we need to take a systemic approach to make sure we can ban or ban it if necessary,” Warner said on Fox News Sunday.
“TikTok is one of the potentials” that the bill could target, Warner said. “They take data from Americans and don’t keep it safe.”
“But what worries me more about TikTok is that this could be a propaganda tool. The kind of videos you see would encourage ideological issues,” he added.
Warner’s bill comes nearly a week after the House Foreign Affairs Committee introduced a Republican-sponsored bill aimed at doing much of the same.
House legislation was passed by the GOP-controlled committee by a 24-16 vote along the party line, with unanimous GOP support and no Democratic votes.
The House bill, dubbed the Deterring America’s Technological Adversaries, or DATA Act, would require the President to impose sweeping sanctions on China-based or China-controlled companies involved in the transfer of “sensitive personal information” from Americans have interests in China-based companies or individuals, or are controlled by China.
And although the DATA Act has passed its jurisdictional committee, it was unclear Monday when or if it would receive a plenary vote.
Bills authorizing US President Joe Biden to rein in Chinese companies that collect personal information from Americans have gained momentum in recent months as talks between TikTok and the US Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investments stalled .
CFIUS, which assesses risks associated with foreign investment deals, is considering ByteDance’s 2017 purchase of Musical.ly.
TikTok hopes the CFIUS investigation will eventually result in a settlement between the company and the government to address privacy issues while protecting the company’s ability to operate in the United States.
“The quickest and most thorough way to address national security concerns is for CFIUS to adopt the proposed agreement that we’ve been working with them on for almost two years,” TikTok spokeswoman Brooke Oberwetter told CNBC last week.
However, as the CFIUS investigation drags on with no resolution, the White House has reportedly begun to focus more energy on Congress’ potential to provide a legal avenue for Biden to crack down on companies that pose a national security threat.
Within the administration, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo has emerged as a key figure in this effort.
“There are a number of members in the US Senate who are thinking deeply about how to properly protect America’s national security,” Raimondo said in a recent interview with Bloomberg News.
“We will work with Congress to find the right way to legislate to protect America from these concerns,” she added.
Last Monday, the Biden administration released new implementation rules for a TikTok ban that applies only to state devices, which Congress passed in December.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is scheduled to appear as a witness at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on March 23.
CNBC’s Mary Catherine Wellons contributed coverage of this story.