Biden Makes It Official: TikTok Must Be Sold or Banned

He signs $95B war aid measure that includes provision regarding China-owned site
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 24, 2024 10:45 AM CDT
Biden Makes It Official: TikTok Must Be Sold or Banned
President Biden speaks before approving a Ukraine aid package that also includes support for Israel, Taiwan, and other allies at the White House on Wednesday in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Biden signed into law on Wednesday a $95 billion war aid measure that includes assistance for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan and that also has a provision that would force social media site TikTok to be sold or be banned in the US. The announcement marks an end to a long and painful battle with Republicans in Congress over urgently needed assistance for Ukraine. "We rose to the moment. We came together. And we got it done," Biden said at White House event to announce the signing. "Now we need to move fast, and we are."

  • Too late? The AP reports significant damage has been done to the Biden administration's effort to help Ukraine repel Russia's brutal invasion during the funding impasse that dates back to August, when the Democratic president made his first emergency spending request for Ukraine aid. Even with a burst of new weapons and ammunition, it's unlikely Ukraine will immediately recover after months of setbacks.
  • What Ukraine will get, and when: Biden also signed an initial aid package of military assistance and said shipment would begin in the "next few hours"—the first tranche from about $61 billion allocated for Ukraine, according to US officials. It's expected to include air defense capabilities, artillery rounds, armored vehicles, and other weapons.
  • The ax falls on TikTok: Tucked into the measure is a provision that gives TikTok's Beijing-based parent company, ByteDance, nine months to sell it or face a nationwide prohibition in the United States. The president can grant a one-time extension of 90 days, bringing the timeline to sell to one year, if he certifies that there's a path to divestiture and "significant progress" toward executing it.
  • TikTok to fight back: It plans to wage a legal challenge against what it called an "unconstitutional" effort by Congress. "We believe the facts and the law are clearly on our side, and we will ultimately prevail," the company said in a statement. "The fact is, we have invested billions of dollars to keep US data safe and our platform free from outside influence and manipulation. This ban would devastate 7 million businesses and silence 170 million Americans." (Here's more on what the ban could mean.)

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