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US House Republicans go forward with TikTok measure despite Trump

A guy uses his mobile phone near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 10, 2024.

WASHINGTON, March 12 (mod1s) - Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives pledged on Tuesday to go forward with a vote to ban the popular TikTok social media app, despite the misgivings of Donald Trump, who retains tremendous sway over their tiny House majority. 

House Speaker Mike Johnson is set to present legislation to the floor on Wednesday that tackles Chinese control of TikTok, which Republicans and Democrats think poses a national security concern to the United States. The law would give TikTok's Chinese owner, ByteDance, roughly six months to sell the video app used by 170 million Americans.

That is happening despite former president and Republican nominee Trump's public statements in recent days opposing the law, which he suggested may help Meta Platforms Inc's (META.O), opens new tab Facebook and Instagram services. 

"I don't want Facebook, who cheated in the previous Election, performing better. They are a real Enemy of the People!" Trump posted on his Truth Social platform last week. 

So far this year, Trump opposition has pushed House Republicans to kill a bipartisan plan developed in the Senate aimed to handle record numbers of migrants over the U.S.-Mexico border and helped delay a bipartisan Senate assistance package to Ukraine.

The TikTok measure last week sailed out of committee with a rare unanimous bipartisan 50-0 vote. 

Representative Chip Roy, a famous Republican hardliner and Trump loyalist who is co-sponsoring the measure, recognized the former president's worries about other social platforms but said the House needed to act regardless. 

"It's not weighing on my mind," the Texas Republican told reporters. "He're trying to be very careful about American-owned companies, and not have the power of government overstep, but to focus here on (the Chinese government) targeting our people."


House lawmakers of both parties had a secret briefing regarding TikTok on Tuesday from the FBI, Justice Department and intelligence officials.

"We've addressed a number of inquiries from members. We got a confidential briefing today so that members can see additional more specifics about what's at risk and how the CCP might endanger the risk to American families," Republican Majority Leader Steve Scalise told reporters.
Johnson and Scalise disregarded queries regarding Trump's worries. 

Lawmakers have also been deluged with calls from young TikTok users who oppose the law, which some say had surpassed those urging a truce between Israel and Hamas. 

"A lot of them are phoning, so it's jammed up the folks who want a truce. They've overcome the truce," Democratic Representative Steve Cohen told reporters. 

The corporation is also pushing Congress against the measure, stating TikTok is neither owned or controlled by the Chinese government and warning that divestment might risk the security of U.S. data. 

In an interview with CNBC on Monday, Trump continued to rage against Facebook but also recognized worries about a national security danger. 

"There's a lot of good and there's a lot of bad with TikTok," Trump stated. 

Democratic President Joe Biden's re-election campaign has embraced TikTok as a strategy to attract young people, while the Trump team so far has eschewed the site. 

But Biden has also stated he will sign the measure if it passed the House and Senate. 

Republican Representative Ben Cline said he backs the measure, despite Trump's opposition, stating, "Everybody's got their view about it. He's got a right to have his viewpoint."


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