Does a bill that could ban TikTok have a chance of passing in the Senate?

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — It will be at least two weeks, but it will likely be even longer, before the Senate takes up a bill which could ban TikTok in the U.S.

Congress is currently on a two-week recess, and there doesn’t appear to be a clear timeline on when the Senate will take up the bill that passed overwhelmingly in the House earlier this month.

“There was deep concern about the threat from TikTok on both sides of the aisle,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas.) said following a classified briefing last week.

Right now, it’s unclear if the bill has a chance of passing in the Senate as it has been written by the House.

“There’s no reason that the Senate can’t consider the House bill. It’s a good bill, with potential modifications to make it more practical and achievable,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said.

Sen. Cruz said the bill has been referred to the Senate Commerce Committee but did not say if or when there would be a markup on the bill, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has not committed to putting the bill on the floor anytime soon.

Some lawmakers like Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) want to move as quickly as possible.

“I think the Senate needs to promptly take up and pass the House bill, which would force TikTok’s Chinese communist influence parent company to divest from TikTok,” Sen. Cotton said.

However, there seems to be some uncertainty about how quickly the Senate would be able to vote on the bill.

“They moved obviously very aggressively and quickly in the House, I’m not sure the Senate’s got that same kind of timetable,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said.

The bottom line is that there appears to be little agreement in the Senate on the best way to ensure that 170 million American users aren’t having their private data accessed by China.

There are other factors that could be holding the Senate back. For example, the tech industry is broad and falls under the jurisdiction of several different committees, and lawmakers in both parties seem to be at odds over how exactly the legislation should be written.

What would the House bill do exactly?

Earlier this month, the House passed the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act” by a vote of 352-65.  The legislation would ban TikTok in the U.S. if its China-based owner ByteDance doesn’t sell its stakes in the platform within six months of the bill's enactment.

If ByteDance were to divest its stakes, then the social media platform would continue to operate in the U.S. as long as it is determined that it is no longer being controlled by a foreign adversary. The bill would also require ByteDance to give up control of TikTok’s well-known algorithm, which feeds users content based on their preferences.

Experts have previously said it would be hard for ByteDance to sell TikTok in a few months.

President Joe Biden has said he will sign the bill if it is sent to his desk.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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