Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ken.) blocked a move Wednesday by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) to pass his bill that would ban the embattled social media platform TikTok in the U.S., saying the legislation violated First Amendment rights.
“The company has bent over backwards to work with our government,” Paul said on the Senate floor.
“I will continue to defend the First Amendment, and those who believe that the First Amendment doesn’t protect this speech are in the wrong,” he said.
Paul objected to Hawley’s motion to have the bill pass the Senate by unanimous consent and also objected to scheduling a roll call vote for the legislation.
Hawley vowed to continue to try and get a TikTok ban passed.
“The truth will carry the day and we will continue the fight,” Hawley said in response to Paul’s objections.
The debate over whether to ban TikTok has waged on for months and picked up new steam when the company’s CEO Shou Zi Chew testified in front of Congress last week.
Officials have flagged concerns over the connection of TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, with the Chinese government.
TikTok CEO Shou Chew listens during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Thursday, March 23, 2023 to discuss privacy concerns and safeguarding children on TikTok.
Lawmakers say the dynamic between ByteDance, which is owned in part by Chinese founders, and the Chinese government, put U.S. user data at risk.