Peltola votes in favor of bill that could lead to U.S. TikTok ban

Alaska’s lone U.S. House member, Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola, voted Wednesday in favor of legislation that would force the Chinese owner of popular social media platform TikTok to either sell the platform or have it banned in the U.S.

The bill passed the chamber in a 352-65 vote, with broad bipartisan backing from lawmakers. The measure is supported by President Joe Biden, whose administration contends the Chinese ownership of the platform poses national security risks.

Former President Donald Trump has said he opposes the measure, in a reversal from his last year in office, when he sought to ban the social media platform.

Peltola said in a statement Wednesday that the bill is “a reasonable response to a genuine national security concern.” She went on to say that she expects TikTok “will continue to operate, just under a new parent company.”

[House passes TikTok bill that could ban app in the U.S., spawning Senate support]

The bill heads next to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future. Alaska’s two U.S. senators — Republicans Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan — said Wednesday they were reviewing the bill, but signaled they saw TikTok’s Chinese ownership as a concern.

“I am strongly inclined to support legislative action,” Sullivan said in a prepared statement, calling for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to bring the bill to a floor vote. TikTok is a “serious example of the national security threat to America” posed by the Chinese Communist Party, Sullivan said.


Murkowski said she has “very real concerns” about the privacy of users, the platform’s implication for national security, and its ability to be used to spread misinformation. She did not say whether she would vote in favor of the bill’s passage.

“A decision of this magnitude on legislation, which has implications beyond TikTok, cannot be made hastily. I believe the committees of jurisdiction should review this legislation — as I will — before the full Senate is asked to vote on it,” Murkowski said in a prepared statement.

Republican U.S. House candidate Nick Begich — who is running against Peltola this year after losing to her twice in 2022 — signaled his support for the measure and said it could “end up being a bill to save TikTok” by forcing the U.S. operation to divest of its Chinese owners.

Another Republican challenger to Peltola in the U.S. House race, Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom, did not respond to a request for comment on the bill.

Dahlstrom’s campaign has been all but dormant since she announced her run in November, despite several endorsements from prominent Republicans, including U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson.

A staffer at the lieutenant governor’s office said Wednesday that the only way she knew to contact Dahlstrom’s campaign was through her campaign website. That website contains no contact information. An email to Dahlstrom’s campaign email address went unanswered Wednesday.

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Iris Samuels

Iris Samuels is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News focusing on state politics. She previously covered Montana for The AP and Report for America and wrote for the Kodiak Daily Mirror. Contact her at isamuels@adn.com.