Spending Package Includes TikTok Government Ban, Merger Fee Structure Reform

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Congress has approved a bipartisan spending package that includes a bill that would prohibit the use of social media platform TikTok on government devices and a measure that would reform the fee structure for merger filings, CNBC reported Friday.

The bill banning the video-sharing application on federal devices includes an exception for national security, law enforcement and research purposes, according to the report.

Brendan Carr, a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, issued a statement welcoming the passage of the measure in Congress.

Today’s action only highlights the need for Administration officials to wrap up their ongoing review of TikTok with the speed and urgency that this national security threat demands,” he said in a statement.

The Department of the Treasury’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. is conducting a review of TikTok over national security issues as the app — which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance — negotiates to continue its operations in the U.S.

The spending package, which has yet to be signed by the president, also includes the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in the upper chamber.

The legislation would update the 2001 fee structure by implementing higher fees for companies advancing large mergers and lowering the cost for smaller acquisitions as part of efforts to generate additional revenue to fund antitrust agencies that review such transactions.

“By restructuring outdated merger filing fees, our bipartisan legislation will enable Congress to get much-needed resources to our antitrust enforcers so they can protect competition,” Klobuchar said in a statement published Friday.

The package also includes a measure that would direct the Federal Trade Commission to submit to Congress a report that offers detailed information on foreign ransomware attacks and other cyberthreat complaints it receives.

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