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Connolly Statement in Opposition to the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act

Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Information Technology, and Government Innovation, released the following statement in opposition to the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, legislation to force ByteDance to sell TikTok or face a ban in American app stores. Connolly was unable to attend the vote due to unforeseen circumstances, but would have voted against the legislation:

“As an American and as a lawmaker, I am deeply wary of any effort that has the effect of censoring free speech or expression. Be it books or apps, I err staunchly on the side of caution when it comes to government-mandated bans on any kind of information sharing.

“I understand the concerns surrounding TikTok and the desire to protect Americans and their data from the Chinese Communist Party. To that end, I do believe that ByteDance should divest from TikTok. But I do not believe Congress should be in the business of singling out individual companies by name and bypassing the usual systems put in place to regularize this process. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States should take up the issue of ByteDance and TikTok, conduct a thorough investigation, and adjudicate fully and openly the threats posed by foreign ownership of TikTok. That is the transparent, deliberative, and well-established process Congress and the Executive have used to address foreign corporate threats. Today’s legislation is simply a bridge too far and would set a dangerous precedent.

“I agree in full with the Washington Post Editorial Board, who said ‘the government ought to set itself a high bar for dictating to Americans where they can and can’t express themselves. This bill would place it too low.’ We must trust Americans with their democracy.

“Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unable to attend today’s vote. Had I been present, I would have voted no.”
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