House-approved defense bill would ban TikTok from government devices

House-approved defense bill would ban TikTok from government devices
© Greg Nash

An amendment banning the use of TikTok on government devices was successfully attached to the annual defense policy approved by the House Tuesday.

The proposal, brought by Rep. Ken BuckKenneth (Ken) Robert BuckHillicon Valley: Biden: Social media platforms 'killing people' | Tech executives increased political donations amid lobbying push | Top House antitrust Republican forms 'Freedom from Big Tech Caucus' Top House antitrust Republican forms 'Freedom from Big Tech Caucus' Bipartisan group calls on Biden to clarify reasoning for Syria airstrikes MORE (D-Colo.), would bar federal employees from downloading the short-form video app onto government-issued devices.

The successful amendment comes amid rising scrutiny of TikTok as a national security threat because of its ties to China. TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, is based in and operates out of Beijing.

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A spokesperson for TikTok said in a statement to The Hill that the company's app is for "for entertainment and creative expression, which we recognize is not what federal government devices are for."

The company has maintained that it does not transfer data to the Chinese government.

The Trump administration has suggested it will ban TikTok outright because of its ties to the Chinese Communist Party, although no specific timeline or mechanism has been provided.

Now that the House approved the House National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a 295 to 125 margin, the Senate will likely pass its own version of the bill, then the two chambers will come together on compromise legislation.

Buck's amendment mirrors a bill introduced in the Senate by Sens. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyAtlanta-area spa shootings suspect set to be arraigned Noem to travel to South Carolina for early voting event Competition laws could be a death knell for startup mergers and acquisitions MORE (R-Mo.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.), making it likely that a TikTok ban will at least be considered.

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The entire bill may be shot down, however, with the White House threatening to veto it over a provision that would direct the Pentagon to rename military bases currently named after Confederate leaders.

Also of note in the House version of the NDAA are two amendments from Rep. Yvette ClarkeYvette Diane ClarkeHouse passes host of bills to strengthen cybersecurity in wake of attacks Haiti Caucus: Forging path out of crisis will not be quick, but necessary to avoid false 'democracy' US lawmakers express shock at Haitian president's assassination MORE (D-N.Y.) requiring the military to report to Congress on the defense implications of deepfakes and the creation of a new working group to assess their national security risks.

The New York lawmaker also successfully attached an amendment prohibiting the Defense Department from using funds on artificial intelligence systems not vetted for algorithmic bias.

Rep. Jennifer WextonJennifer Lynn WextonLate Capitol Police officer's family urges Congress to agree to Jan. 6 commission Administration withdraws Trump-era proposal to loosen protections for transgender homeless people Trump the X-factor in Virginia governor race MORE (D-Va.) sponsored another successful amendment requiring a biennial report on foreign influence campaigns targeting American elections.

Updated at 6:40pm