By Arjun Singh
The House Republican Conference is currently working on legislation that may ban the use of TikTok by federal government employees, the Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.
“We’re working on something right now,” said a Republican aide familiar with the matter. The proposal is said to be proceeding through the Judiciary Committee, which is set to be led by Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio in the next Congress when the GOP gains a majority.
The measure comes days after Republican Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota issued an executive order that banned the use of TikTok by all state government employees and contractors using official devices. Her measure follows other bans issued by the U.S. military, Transportation Security Administration and several government agencies individually restricting their personnel from using the app, as well as widespread concerns that TikTok user data is accessed by the Chinese government to engage in malign influence within the United States.
Shortly before Noem’s measure, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin on Nov. 10 introduced companion bills in their respective chambers to ban the use of TikTok across the United States. “TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. This is not a state-owned enterprise, but in China, no company is truly private. Under the country’s 2017 National Intelligence Law, all citizens and businesses are required to assist in intelligence work, which includes sharing data,” Rubio said in a press release.
Former President Donald Trump had sought to ban TikTok by executive order across the United States in 2020 while still in office, unless it was sold to an American company. Though big technology firms Oracle and Microsoft had placed bids with ByteDance, the company declined to accept them and sued the Trump administration to block the ban, obtaining a temporary injunction in November of 2020.
President Joe Biden rescinded Trump’s actions on TikTok in June of 2021, though he charged the Secretary of Commerce with determining whether or not TikTok should be banned in the country. A permanent nationwide ban able to withstand most legal challenges could only be enacted by Congress.
The office of Kevin McCarthy, the Federal Communications Commission and the White House did not respond to a request for comment.