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Leading Dem senator keeps door open on House-passed TikTok bill

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Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell isn’t ruling out an eventual vote on the House-passed TikTok bill that could eventually ban it from app stores. But she’s still considering possible changes to the text.

Cantwell (D-Wash.) said she hopes to move legislation “soon,” though she indicated that she would prefer “more robust” legislation, like her own alternative proposal that she unsuccessfully tried to add to a defense bill last year. That legislation would have empowered the Commerce Department to ban foreign-owned apps, like TikTok. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has publicly backed that proposal.

“We were trying something a little more robust and long-term, but we’ll consider this and hopefully we’ll figure out how to get the American people something that minimizes data collection and protects them,” she told reporters.

“We want something that’s constitutional that could do the job,” Cantwell told reporters. “We haven’t heard from everybody.”

Asked about some of her former aides who are now lobbying on behalf of TikTok, Cantwell laughed: “I didn’t even know that.”

Cantwell indicated she hasn’t yet spoken to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer following the overwhelming bipartisan House vote on the TikTok bill, which would force the Beijing-based ByteDance to either sell it or face a ban from app stores. She also wanted to speak with the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee — Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — both of whom have said they support the House bill.