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House moves toward combining TikTok bill with aid to Ukraine and Israel| GuyWhoKnowsThings

On Wednesday, the House made another effort to force passage of legislation that would require the sale of TikTok by its Chinese owner or ban the app in the United States, accelerating an effort to disrupt the popular social media app.

President Mike Johnson has indicated that he intends to package the measure, a modified version version of a standalone bill that the House passed last month, with external help for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

While the new legislation would still require TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, to sell the app to owners who resolved national security concerns, it includes an option to extend the deadline for the sale to nine months from the original six months, according to the text of legislation released by House leadership. The president could extend the deadline another 90 days if progress was made toward a sale.

House lawmakers are expected to vote Saturday on a package of legislation that includes a ban on TikTok and other bills popular with Republicans, a move intended to induce lawmakers to vote in favor of foreign aid. . If the package passes, the measures will be sent as a single bill to the Senate, which could vote soon after. President Biden has said he will sign legislation on TikTok if it reaches his desk.

The move “to bundle TikTok is definitely unusual, but it could be successful,” said Paul Gallant, a policy analyst at financial services firm TD Cowen. He added that “it's a little risky” to try to force an up-or-down vote without further negotiations with the Senate.

The new effort is the most aggressive yet by lawmakers to wrest TikTok from its Chinese ownership over national security concerns. They cite the possibility that Beijing could demand that TikTok hand over American users' data or use the app for propaganda purposes. The previous House bill faced skepticism in the Senate over concerns that it would not withstand a legal challenge.

TikTok has said national security concerns are unfair and has spent more than $1 billion on a detailed plan for its U.S. operations that would block user data and offer third-party oversight of its content recommendations.

TikTok had no immediate comment.

TikTok has a significant influence on culture and politics and is used by 170 million people each month in the United States. The company has said it has nearly 7,000 employees in the United States.

Uncertainty over whether the Senate will take up legislation passed by the House in March has triggered an aggressive lobbying effort in the Senate and weeks of pressure on senators to advance the bill. By combining legislation on TikTok with high-profile aid for Ukraine and Israel, House leaders could force the Senate.

If the measure becomes law, it is likely to face weeks or months of legal challenges. federal judges blocked a 2020 attempt by President Donald J. Trump to ban TikTok or force its sale. Last year, a federal judge temporarily blocked a statewide ban of TikTok goes into effect in Montana, preventing the first ban of its kind in the country.

Other challenges remain, including the possibility of Beijing blocking the sale of TikTok. The app is expected to fetch a high selling price that would be out of reach for many potential buyers.

The campaign to force the sale of TikTok has united lawmakers with administration officials who share their national security concerns. The White House said there was provided assistance to lawmakers as they drafted legislation that passed the House in March.

Officials from the Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence briefed lawmakers in the House and Senate about their concerns, adding fuel to the effort to pass the bill. Some parts of those reports are still classified.

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