Tiktok on Phone

House Of Representatives Votes To Ban Federal Employees From Downloading TikTok

The House of Representatives voted yesterday to pass a proposal that bars all federal employees from downloading video-sharing social media app TikTok on government-issued devices. The proposal, which passed with a vote of 336-71, is a part of a much larger $741 billion defense policy bill.

In general, National security concerns about TikTok have risen within the past few weeks. The concerns stem from the fact that the app is owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, and like with most social media apps, many are concerned that their personal information is falling into the wrong hands. TikTok has made countless statements refuting that any users personal information from the US is sent to where the apps headquarters are based in Beijing, and even claimed that for US users TikTok has their own CEO based in America. 

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“TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the US,” one spokesperson said.

The initial proposal was brought to the table by Republican Colorado Representative Ken Buck as a part of other “bipartisan amendments to be made to the National Defense Authorization Act.” The proposal would ban TikTok on government-issued devices for employees that extend into Congress as well as congressional staff. 

Despite TikTok’s claims that they haven’t given any user information to the Chinese government, and would refute if asked to do so, federal government workers in Washington aren’t so convinced, and have continued to push for the app, along with other Chinese run social media apps, to be banned in the US completely. 

Buck made a floor speech before the House voted on the proposal where he expressed his major concerns over the app especially in regards to government employees who have sensitive and classified information on their devices. 

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“TikTok is a serious national security threat…the data the company collects from US consumers could be used in a cyber attack against our republic.” 

The US is not alone in their security concerns over TikTok specifically either. India recently announced they would be banning the app along with 58 other apps that are developed by Chinese firms. The banning comes after similar concerns arose among the federal government in India, claiming that the apps “threatened the national security and defense of India.”

As previously mentioned this proposal is just one of many amendments that will be made to the National Defense Authorization Act. The next step will be the House passing their new version of the NDAA with the new amendments implemented. Once passed, the Senate will then decide whether or not to pass it along further later this week; it’s expected that both groups will approve of the new amendments. 

Beyond the NDAA, the Senate of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is expected to consider new legislation that will be presented by Senators Rick Scott and Josh Hawley this Wednesday. This new legislation is similar to the proposal that was passed yesterday, barring federal employees from using TikTok on government-issued devices, but if passed by both federal groups, the prohibition could soon become law in the US. 

Even further, the Trump administration has been very public about their consideration of a national ban on TikTok and other Chinese-linked social media apps. However, only time will tell how easy that would actually be for the administration to accomplish. 


Nancy Pelosi Delays Sending Articles Of Impeachment To Senate Following House Vote

Donald Trump has officially become the third President of the United States to be impeached following the House vote approving the articles of impeachment this past Wednesday (December 18th). While this doesn’t necessarily mean that Trump will be fully removed from office, it still is being recognized as a historic day. 

Now, the vote is up to the Republican-controlled Senate on whether or not Trump will remain in office for the rest of his term. However, they are facing some delays after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced yesterday that she would not commit to sending the articles of impeachment against the president to the Senate. 

“That would have been our intention, but we’ll see what happens over there,” Pelosi said at a post-impeachment news conference when asked about the articles.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

The withholding comes as a response to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s rejection of Senate Leader Chuck Schumer’s request to allow four witnesses who work, or formerly worked,  as Trump’s officials to testify as witnesses at the Senate’s impeachment trial. Two of the witnesses include Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton and the acting White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney. Both of these witnesses were working closely with Trump around the time of the phone call to the Ukrainian President, making their role in the trial relevant. 

Pelosi is holding the articles until McConnell agrees to Schumer’s initial request. This withholding also means that it’s unclear as to the timeline of when the Senate’s trial will take place. However, both the Democrats and Republicans seem to be rather relaxed about it. Republicans and McConnell have argued that they’re in “no hurry” regarding receiving the articles and that there’s no advantage in delaying a trial the Senate doesn’t really want anything to do with anyway. Democrats are also taking their time in regards to how to go about the situation, and will be meeting Thursday morning (December 19th) to further discuss the matter. 

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U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

The main goal regarding the withholding is to ensure that the Republicans will be offering a fair and thorough trial, and with a Republican-controlled Senate, it’s unclear as to what type of reassurance that would be. James Clyburn, South Carolina Democrat House member, stated that they will be holding the articles “as long as it takes, even if [McConnell] doesn’t come around to committing a fair trial, [we’ll] keep those articles here.” 

McConnell is expected to address the press about the impeachment and the future of the trial Thursday morning as well, and it’s likely that he will discuss the withholding of the letters as a sign that the Democrats are “too afraid to even submit their shoddy work product to the Senate.” He is also expected to announce the date of the Senate trial by the end of the week. However, with Pelosi’s last-minute decision to hold the articles, it’s unlikely that he will make that announcement during his Thursday morning speech. 

Additionally, Pelosi threw another wrench into the trial’s plans by delaying the naming of impeachment managers for the Senate’s trial; the House is likely to make that decision within the next few days as well. 

We cannot name managers until we see what the process is on the Senate side, and we hope that will be soon. So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us, so hopefully it will be fair,”  Pelosi said