Business Government

Congressman Fitzpatrick Votes For Legislation To Force TikTok Sale, Possible Ban

The local congressman voted in favor of a bill requiring ByteDance to sell TikTok to keep it available in the U.S.

File photo.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed legislation targeting Chinese technology company ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok.

The bill, named the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, requires ByteDance to divest its ownership of TikTok in order for the app “to remain available in the United States.”

The legislation was approved with a bipartisan majority of 352-65, with one member voting present.

Introduced last Tuesday by congressmen Mike Gallagher, a Republican from Wisconsin, and Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat from Illinois, the bill quickly advanced through the House. The two lawmakers are leaders of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, a Republican from Middletown Township, voted in support of the bill.

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick speaking at an event. File photo.
Credit: Tom Sofield/

The bill frames TikTok as a national security threat due to its ties to China, which the U.S. considers a foreign adversary.

Fitzpatrick supported the bill, according to his office’s earlier statement to the Delaware Valley Journal. However, his spokesperson, Jason Donner, did not provide comments following the Wednesday vote.

Congressman Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California and a Bucks County native, expressed concern over the free speech implications of the bill in an MSNBC interview.

“You could pass an Internet Bill of Rights. You could do things like a financial penalty. A ban is extreme, and you have to have the least restrictive means,” he said.

A TikTok representative criticized the legislative process as “secretive” and said it was designed to ban the app.

“We are hopeful that the Senate will consider the facts, listen to their constituents, and realize the impact on the economy, 7 million small businesses, and the 170 million Americans who use our service,” a TikTok statement to CNBC read.

The U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C. File photo.

Since last Thursday, TikTok has been sending push notifications to users over the age of 18, encouraging them to contact their representatives to request they vote against a ban of the popular app.

The bill’s future in the Senate remained uncertain as of Wednesday.

President Joe Biden, whose campaign recently launched a TikTok account, has said he would sign the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act into law if it is passed.

President Biden addressing a crowd in Philadelphia.
Credit: Tom Sofield/

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan weighed in on the issue during a Tuesday briefing at the White House.

“A lot of people are going around throwing around the words ‘ban TikTok,’ ‘TikTok ban.’ And the ultimate objective of the bill is about a question of ownership. Do we want TikTok, as a platform, to be owned by an American company or owned by China? Do we want the data from TikTok — children’s data, adults’ data — to be going — to be staying here in America or going to China? That is the fundamental question at issue here,” he said.

The legislation comes years after former President Donald Trump’s unsuccessful attempt to ban TikTok via an executive order, a decision the courts overturned, according to Time Magazine.

Donald Trump speaking.
Credit: Mike DiMestico

Trump recently went back on his previous position and spoke against a ban of TikTok, claiming a ban will help Facebook, whose CEO he is upset at for 2020 election donations. Additionally, ABC News reported that Trump met with a megadonor who has been an investor in TikTok.

Despite government security concerns related to TikTok’s reported connections with the Chinese Communist Party, the platform’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, has refuted the claims.

Critics of the bill, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Knight Institute, have raised First Amendment rights concerns over a possible ban, as reported by CNBC.

Bucks County government banned use of the app last spring on county-owned devices.

About the author

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield has covered news in Bucks County for 12 years for both newspaper and online publications. Tom’s reporting has appeared locally, nationally, and internationally across several mediums. He is proud to report on news in the county where he lives and to have created a reliable publication that the community deserves.

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