Did the Senate pass the TikTok bill? McConnell urges lawmakers to vote



WASHINGTON — Nearly a month after the House quickly pushed through a bill that could effectively ban TikTok in the United States, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is calling on his chamber to expand efforts against the popular app to record.

During a speech on the Senate floor Monday morning, McConnell argued that the Chinese government is manipulating and monitoring Americans over the election platform – a matter “that deserves urgent attention from Congress.”

“All types of social media platforms can be sources of disinformation and propaganda,” McConnell said. “But TikTok is not about meddling or hijacking an American platform. In this case, the influence and control of the PRC (People’s Republic of China) was firmly established from the beginning.”

Here's what you need to know about the legislation senators are currently considering — and what's next.

Is the TikTok bill moving forward?

McConnell's speech intensified pressure on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to weigh in on the controversial bill, which drew strong and immediate backlash from many of the platform's 170 million American users.

Some younger Democrats have argued that the law could be a political misstep in an election year when left-wing candidates rely heavily on young voters.

The House bill would require TikTok's Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to sell the social media app or it would be effectively banned. App stores and web hosting companies would be prohibited from offering the app for new downloads or updating it on users' phones.

But while the House pushed a TikTok-related bill out of committee and quickly passed it in a sweeping, bipartisan vote, the process is moving slowly in the Senate.

Schumer has been noncommittal about a path forward for TikTok legislation, saying instead that he is considering the legislation with the chairs of relevant committees. Legislation often moves at a more measured pace in Senate committees and experiences delays before it actually gets to a vote.

Now it's up to lawmakers in the upper chamber to decide whether they want the bill to move quickly to the Senate floor or if they want to take a break while they consider the legislation that impacts millions of Americans online could impact.

Senators did not pass the House of Representatives' TikTok legislation

Senators from both parties have received mixed reactions to the House bill. While most say they believe TikTok's ties to the Chinese government pose a serious threat to national security, many have expressed concerns that targeting a single company could raise legal issues.

But McConnell argued that requiring ByteDance to sell the platform — as required by the House-passed bill — “would fall squarely within established constitutional precedent.”

“It would turn the tide of a tremendous threat to America’s children and our nation’s prospects in the defining contest of the 21st century,” he said. However, McConnell refrained from directly calling on his fellow senators to pass the House bill.

Several senators are considering their own version of the bill. Commerce Committee Chairwoman Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said Monday that the House bill “could be better” and expressed concerns about its ability to withstand legal scrutiny. If the Senate passes its own version of legislation on TikTok, it would ultimately have to be reconciled with House legislation before it reaches President Joe Biden's desk.