Latest News

MTG and AOC, united? Inside the House’s highly unusual TikTok vote

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

The House broke from its normal state of bitter division in striking fashion on Wednesday, assembling a bipartisan coalition to pass legislation that could ban the popular app TikTok by an overwhelming vote of 352-65.

But the no camp proved almost as bipartisan as the yes votes on the TikTok bill. Progressives and a handful of conservatives united in opposition, joining former President Donald Trump — even though his late-in-the-game criticism of the bill did not come with open lobbying against the measure, according to multiple lawmakers.

Opponents of the bill ranged from frequent adversaries Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to House Intelligence Committee Vice Chair Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) and the ideologically chameleonic Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.).

“It’s not constitutionally sound,” Mace said of the TikTok measure. “It’s the Libertarian in me. It’s not the role of government to ban apps from the App Store.”

Other no votes on the TikTok bill — whose future in the Senate remains uncertain — included several lawmakers seeking higher office, including Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.) and Dan Bishop (R-N.C.).

Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), who abandoned his long-shot presidential bid last week, voted no alongside House Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), while Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) backed it. Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) was the lone lawmaker to vote present.

Fifteen Republicans and 50 Democrats opposed the legislation, though it easily cleared the two-thirds threshold needed for passage.

Notably, Republicans indicated Trump’s opposition to the measure did not affect their position on the legislation.

“I always like to know what President Trump was thinking but I definitely believe this is a good bill,” Rep. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.) told POLITICO, referencing the former president’s opposition to the measure that passed out of the Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously.

“Obviously, we’d want to take into account his thoughts,” Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-Wis.) said of Trump in a brief interview. “But again, he didn’t call me personally, and I’m voting to get rid of this because the Chinese Communist Party has no business with Americans’ personal information.”

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), who supported the legislation, put Trump’s stance simply in an interview.

“He’s getting bad advice from somebody. I don’t know why,” Crenshaw said of the former president. “It’s okay. We don’t have to agree on everything.”

Other advocates from across the political spectrum argued the legislation wouldn’t necessarily ban the popular app, but merely force its Beijing-based parent company to divest or face a nationwide ban. President Joe Biden’s White House has said he would sign the legislation into law if it reaches his desk.

“This is not an attempt to ban TikTok,” former Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on the floor. “It’s an attempt to make TikTok better. Tic-Tac-Toe. A winner. A winner.”

Speaker Mike Johnson also hailed the legislation’s passage following the resounding vote.

“Today’s bipartisan vote demonstrates Congress’ opposition to Communist China’s attempts to spy on and manipulate Americans, and signals our resolve to deter our enemies,” he said in a statement. “I urge the Senate to pass this bill and send it to the President so he can sign it into law.”

Progressives, who opposed the legislation, don’t see it that way.

“This bill was incredibly rushed, from committee to vote in 4 days, with little explanation,” Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “There are serious antitrust and privacy questions here, and any national security concerns should be laid out to the public prior to a vote.”

Trump announced his opposition to the bill in a Monday interview, contending that it would only expand the power of Facebook.

“Frankly, there are a lot of people on TikTok that love it. There are a lot of young kids on TikTok who will go crazy without it,” he said.

Shortly after the lopsided House passage, the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee voiced support for the legislation.

“We were encouraged by today’s strong bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives, and look forward to working together to get this bill passed through the Senate and signed into law,” Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said in a statement.

Daniella Diaz contributed.