U.S. President Biden enacts US$95 billion aid package and mandates TikTok sale

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24th April 2024 – (Washington) U.S. President Joe Biden has officially signed into law a substantial $95 billion foreign aid package, which includes military aid for Ukraine and Israel, along with humanitarian assistance directed towards the Palestinians in Gaza. This legislative action concludes months of stagnation, largely attributed to opposition from former President Donald Trump and his Republican allies in the House.

The passage of this legislation marks a significant achievement for the Biden administration, overcoming resistance that had political undercurrents, particularly concerning security enhancements at the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump had influenced Republican lawmakers to block these measures, suggesting they would boost Biden’s reelection prospects.

A notable aspect of the legislation is its direct impact on the operations of TikTok in the United States. The bill compels ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of the popular social media platform, to divest its interest in TikTok to an American company. Failure to comply with this directive will result in TikTok being banned in the U.S., a move reflecting ongoing concerns about data security and the influence of foreign technology firms.

This legislative package, therefore, not only underscores the U.S. commitment to supporting key international allies but also reflects the ongoing tensions between the U.S. and China, especially in the realm of technology and cybersecurity. The requirement for TikTok’s sale is part of broader efforts to safeguard American data privacy and prevent potential foreign surveillance through technology.