Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer Sees ‘Path Forward’ for TikTok Legislation

Chuck Schumer comments on TikTok legislation
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Chuck Schumer comments on TikTok legislation
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Photo Credit: Senate Democrats // CC by 2.0

As the Senate looks to resume after a two-week recess, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) outlined plans for a “path forward on TikTok legislation.”

The U.S. House of Representatives voted on March 13 to give TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, 180 days to divest or face a ban. Schumer’s statement did not outline his position on the potential TikTok ban, but stated “in the weeks and months ahead, we have the opportunity to make progress on bipartisan bills” that includes the TikTok measure.

Meanwhile, Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) has stated she is considering holding a public hearing on the TikTok bill. The hearing would invite key talking points about concerns over foreign ownership of the app.

“The key point here is getting a tool that can be used to stop foreign actors from doing deleterious things that might harm U.S. citizens,” Cantwell said. “We’re going to get it done and we’re not going to take forever.”

Around 170 million Americans use TikTok—which has lobbied Washington hard to prevent a ban. Lawmakers have pointed out since 2018 that TikTok’s ownership scheme leaves the app susceptible to influence from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government, which requires all Chinese companies to share data with the regime.

Several reports over the course of 2019 through 2023 have highlighted how Chinese engineers working for ByteDance had backdoors into TikTok’s databases—able to access data and specifically follow journalists who use the platform.

TikTok’s data hoovering has presented national security concerns to the point that several branches of the military have banned the app from work phones. Congress banned the app from government-issued phones, and both the FBI Director and the FCC Commissioner have issued concerns, calling it a ‘clear and present danger’ and a ‘serious threat’ to U.S. national security.