“The concern is that this app gives the Chinese government a back door into our phones,” McCaul told Bloomberg News, which reported the vote’s timing earlier.
McCaul said some of the existing proposals risk being blocked in court over free speech issues.
The Texas Republican said he is skeptical that any proposed firewall between the enormously popular short video platform and its Chinese parent would adequately protect US users. He said the committee is working on a new bill that combines several proposals to ban TikTok and will address any constitutional issues with a ban.
McCaul’s efforts come amid other measures in both the House and Senate to ban TikTok in the US, including a bipartisan bill from Wisconsin Republican Mike Gallagher and Illinois Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi.
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley and Colorado Representative Ken Buck introduced their own version of the ban this week. Hawley in an interview urged a committee reviewing the national security risks of TikTok to expedite its work and said a sale of the app to an American buyer would address his concerns.
TikTok spokeswoman Brooke Oberwetter called a total ban of the app a “piecemeal approach to national security and a piecemeal approach to broad industry issues like data security, privacy and online harms”.
“We hope that lawmakers will focus their energies on efforts to address those issues holistically, rather than pretending that banning a single service would solve any of the problems they’re concerned about or make Americans any safer,” she said in a statement.
McCaul’s legislation, if approved, would then head to the House floor for consideration.
But a ban of TikTok, which is popular among teens, would face significant hurdles in Congress to pass, and would need 60 votes in the Senate.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Friday declined to comment on the bill to block TikTok. “It’s under review by (CFIUS) so I am just not going to get into details on that,” she said.
Meanwhile, ByteDance general counsel Erich Andersen is no longer overseeing US government relations for TikTok, as part of a shuffle to improve the company’s standing during intense national security scrutiny, according to people familiar with the matter. He will continue to lead the work with CFIUS, one of the people said.
TikTok has been in contact with US officials who oversee national security issues, trying to avoid the government banning the app in the US.