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Tech News & Podcast | Africa

Biden Enacts $95 Billion Aid Bill for Ukraine and Israel, Incorporating TikTok ban law

President Joe Biden has officially approved measures aimed at providing aid to Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan, alongside a mandate for Chinese company ByteDance to divest TikTok or face a U.S. ban.

After months of contentious debates on Capitol Hill, Biden’s signature marks the conclusion of a lengthy political battle over foreign aid.

“The path to my desk was a difficult one. It should have been smoother and faster,” Biden remarked upon signing the bill. “But ultimately, we did what America always does: we rose to the occasion.”

Following the House’s approval on Saturday and a bipartisan 79-18 vote in the Senate on Tuesday night, the legislation reached Biden’s desk. The law designates approximately $60 billion for Ukraine, $26 billion for Israel, and $8 billion for security in Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific.

TikTok Mandate and Company Response to Biden’s

ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, faces a nine-month deadline to sell the platform or risk a nationwide ban. TikTok has vowed to contest the law, citing concerns over its impact on millions of businesses and users.

Political Ramifications and Support

Despite endorsing the TikTok provision, Biden’s reelection campaign intends to continue using the platform for outreach. The timing of the deadline allows ByteDance to retain ownership until at least the upcoming November election.

Challenges and Political Maneuvering

The bill faced criticism and threats within political circles, including attempts to remove House Speaker Mike Johnson. However, Johnson ultimately resolved the foreign aid deadlock, propelled by bipartisan pressure following recent events in the Middle East.

Ukraine’s Ongoing Struggle

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had long sought aid to combat Russian aggression. Despite initial resistance, the aid package eventually gained support, with Johnson risking his position to push it through.

TikTok’s Divestment Mandate

The inclusion of the TikTok law underscores concerns about national security and foreign ownership. ByteDance must sever ties with TikTok within nine months to avoid being blocked from U.S.-based web hosting services.

The White House emphasizes the TikTok as a matter of national security, stressing the need for divestment rather than a ban. Security worries center around potential access to user data and dissemination of misinformation by the Chinese government.

Despite security apprehensions, Biden’s reelection campaign continues to utilize TikTok for engaging with young voters.

For Ukraine, the aid package represents a lifeline in its ongoing struggle against Russian aggression. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s persistent calls for assistance found resonance in Washington, albeit after initial resistance. The substantial allocation underscores America’s commitment to standing by its allies in the face of external threats.

As the ink dries on President Biden’s signature, the aid package and TikTok provision stand as a testament to the resilience of American democracy and its capacity to address pressing global challenges. The ensuing legal battles, political ramifications, and strategic considerations will shape the trajectory of U.S. foreign policy and tech regulation in the years to come. In a rapidly evolving geopolitical landscape, the decisions made today will reverberate far into the future, underscoring the enduring significance of this momentous legislative milestone.

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