Bans on TikTok Gain Momentum in Washington and States

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“I know that this just happened, so we’re going to let Congress move forward with their processes on this,” she said. She added that TikTok was one of a range of applications that were already not allowed “on the White House and other federal government work equipment for security reasons.”

In September, President Biden directed the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to consider whether deals it vets have the potential for a foreign entity to take advantage of Americans’ data. The administration has also been working on another executive order that would apply more scrutiny to how foreign actors could obtain Americans’ data. It is not clear if — and whether — it will be released.

Lawmakers are tired of waiting to see how it plays out.

“My patience is wearing thin,” Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat of Virginia and member of the intelligence committee, said in an email. He has not signed on to legislation to ban TikTok but has been a vocal critic of the company and expressed his support for states that have banned TikTok on government devices.

A bill introduced by the Republican senator, Josh Hawley of Missouri, that would ban the app on federal government devices was included in the omnibus spending bill expected to be voted on in the coming days. The bill, which has already passed through the Senate, would be the broadest restriction on the app yet.

“I hope this serves as a wake-up call for the administration to get moving,” Mr. Hawley said in an interview. “This bill is an important and major move against TikTok and sends a signal to all Americans that if it is not safe for someone who has a federal device to have it, should my kid have it on his or her phone? Maybe not.”

Republican governors have particularly been active on the issue, announcing prohibitions of the app on state government devices. Governors in Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Virginia have all announced bans in the past three weeks. Nebraska banned TikTok from state-issued devices in 2020.