WASHINGTON — Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), of the House Financial Services Committee, and Ranking Member Tim Scott (R-S.C.), of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, are urging President Joe Biden to implement the 2020 national security finding by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) that TikTok’s operations pose a national security risk to the United States.
The lawmakers highlighted how TikTok’s national security risk has only grown since CFIUS issued its finding in 2020 and underscored the Biden administration’s failure to address the issue. The Chairman and Ranking Member stated that Congress is prepared to address TikTok’s threat if the administration continues its inaction.
“As public servants, we bear a profound responsibility to protect the well-being of future generations by mitigating potential hazards. In the digital realm, this entails equipping users with the knowledge required to navigate online risks. Additionally, we must empower parents with the tools to effectively monitor and comprehend their child’s online activities without compromising their child’s future. TikTok must not be used as a tool of foreign surveillance and indoctrination on our country’s pride and joy—our children,” wrote Chairman McHenry and Ranking Member Scott.
“Each day that passes, more Americans, including young Americans, are put at risk as the number of Americans using TikTok continues to grow. In fact, [Mr. Shou Zi Chew, TikTok’s Chief Executive Officer] testified that nearly 150 million Americans regularly use the app. The scope and quantity of Americans’ personal data that is exposed to potential surveillance and exploitation by the Chinese Communist Party (‘CCP’) is staggering. Furthermore, the CCP’s ‘national security laws’ create the potential for American TikTok users to be targeted by disinformation campaigns initiated by the Chinese state, a fact that Mr. Chew did not dispute during the hearing,” the lawmakers continued.
“Mr. President, it is critical that the national security order to sell TikTok’s U.S. assets is enforced. We note that on the morning of last month’s hearing, the Chinese government threatened it would ‘firmly oppose’ such a sale. The United States must not ignore this transparent threat to influence our nation’s prerogatives and jurisdiction. We urge you to stand up to China and enforce this directive now. Congress stands ready to support you in doing so. However, in the absence of decisive presidential action, Congress will take the steps necessary to address the national security risks presented by TikTok,” the lawmakers continued.
Read the full letter here.