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TikTok bill hits House floor as GOP preps for retreats

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The House will vote Wednesday morning on a bill that would force Beijing-based ByteDance to either sell video-sharing giant TikTok or face a US ban.

Progressive Democrats and a group of libertarian-leaning lawmakers are against the bill, authored by Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), but aren’t expected to mount enough of a challenge to keep it from clearing the House.

Lawmakers and leaders in both parties expect the measure to reach the two-thirds majority it will need to pass under the House’s fast-track procedure. President Joe Biden has said he’ll sign it if this bill comes to his desk.

The Senate is still mulling what to do with the House’s TikTok bill. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has made clear he’d object to a speedy unanimous approval of the bill, which means Democratic leaders will have to weigh floor time.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he’ll be consulting his committee chairs before bringing it up for a vote. There is angst in the upper chamber about the specificity of the bill, singling out TikTok and parent company ByteDance.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he plans to talk to former President Donald Trump about TikTok. Trump flipped from calling for a ban during his presidency but came out against the bill earlier this week.

“I don’t know if we should force a sale. But I don’t want the app to go away if we can prevent it, because a lot of people enjoy it,” said Graham.

Signs of retreat: The vote will close out the week for the House, which is going on early recess to accommodate the House GOP Conference retreat at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia. (Though attendance at the annual gathering is looking more and more sparse, as many GOP members say they won’t be making the trip.)

But before Speaker Mike Johnson and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise hit the country roads for West Virginia, they’re expected to speak to Senate Republicans on Thursday at their much more local retreat.

Burgess Everett contributed to this report.