TikTok on Wednesday called out the House of Representatives over Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-La.) plan to tie legislation threatening to ban the social media platform nationwide with aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

In a statement shared on X, formerly Twitter, the company said House lawmakers are yet again targeting the platform in violation of Americans’ First Amendment rights.

“It is unfortunate that the House of Representatives is using the cover of important foreign and humanitarian assistance to once again jam through a ban bill that would trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans, devastate 7 million businesses, and shutter a platform that contributes $24 billion to the U.S. economy, annually,” the company said.

Under pressure to take action to support U.S. allies abroad, Johnson is expected to bring three stand-alone aid packages for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan to the floor for a vote as early as Saturday.

But to make the proposition more appealing to his hard-line Republican colleagues, Johnson plans to tie foreign aid to a package that has several foreign policy proposals, including updated TikTok legislation that could lead to a nationwide ban on the popular platform.

Last month, the House approved a bill that would force ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, to sell its stake in the company within six months or risk the platform being banned across the country. But the bill never made it to the floor of the Senate, where it faced bipartisan opposition.

The updated version of that legislation would extend the divestment period up to 12 months, a development that was welcomed by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), who chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which has jurisdiction over the TikTok bill in the chamber.

“I support this updated legislation,” she said.

The TikTok bill would be part of a fourth package the House would vote on Saturday. That legislation also includes other foreign policy proposals, such as seizing frozen assets from Russia’s central bank to help Ukraine.

If the measures are approved, they would head to the Senate as a single package, increasing the chances of the TikTok bill becoming law.

President Joe Biden has signaled he would sign the bill targeting TikTok if it makes it to his desk.

Yet, even if it is signed into law, the legislation is expected to be challenged in the courts.

TikTok has aggressively pushed against the ban, including on its social media accounts.

TikTok has long been scrutinized over its ties to Beijing. Under Chinese law, companies operating in the country could be compelled to share their data with the government if requested, fueling privacy and national security concerns about TikTok in the U.S.

But efforts by then-President Donald Trump to ban the platform in 2020 were blocked by the courts.

Trump has since had a change of heart about the platform, saying a ban would only benefit Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram.

Meanwhile, Steve Mnuchin, who served as Treasury secretary in Trump’s administration, has said he plans to try to buy TikTok.

“This should be owned by U.S. businesses,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” last month. “There’s no way that the Chinese would ever let a U.S. company own something like this in China.”


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