Senate Homeland Security committee advances bill to ban TikTok from government devices

Senate Homeland Security committee advances bill to ban TikTok from government devices
© getty

The Senate Homeland Security Committee unanimously advanced a bill Wednesday to ban TikTok from government devices.

The legislation, introduced by Sens. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyGOP divided over bills targeting tech giants Pence heckled with calls of 'traitor' at conservative conference Five takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision MORE (R-Mo.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.), would bar federal employees from downloading the short-form video app onto government-issued devices.

The legislation will now be considered by the full Senate.


The successful approval from the committee 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.

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.

TikTok has maintained that it does not transfer data to the Chinese government, arguing that it is being targeted by the U.S. because of America's economic rivalry with China.

The U.S. has ramped up its opposition to China in multiple sectors recently, with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine The Hill's Morning Report - ObamaCare here to stay The Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? MORE delivering multiple speeches condemning human rights abuses in the Asian country. 

The administration has also sought to dissuade its allies from using Chinese technology — like 5G infrastructure from telecommunications giant Huawei — with nebulous claims about national security.

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."

An amendment from Rep. Ken BuckKenneth (Ken) Robert BuckGOP divided over bills targeting tech giants White House backs repeal of 2002 war authorization House unveils antitrust package to rein in tech giants MORE (R-Colo.) mirroring the Senate bill was successfully attached attached to the annual defense policy approved by the House on Tuesday.

It is unclear if Hawley and Scott's bill will ultimately be integrated into the Senate's House National Defense Authorization Act proposal.