What to Know in Washington: US Faces Long Fight Over TikTok Ban

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Photographer: Tierney L. Cross/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Shou Zi Chew, chief executive officer of TikTok Inc., center, departs following a meeting with Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) in Washington, DC, US, on Thursday, March 14.

China-based Bytedance made clear it won’t comply with a new US law requiring it to sell its popular TikTok video-sharing app, setting up what likely will be a prolonged legal battle that could end up at the Supreme Court.

The company on Tuesday filed a legal challenge to the measure that will ban the app in the US if ByteDance hasn’t divested from TikTok by Jan. 19. The suit marks the first legal challenge since Congress passed the law in April.

For now, the app is allowed to operate in the US, meaning the company doesn’t need to seek an emergency injunction. But as the deadline draws near, the company will likely have to ask for a court order postponing the ban.

The US could face an uphill battle in court, as the Biden administration may be forced to publicly reveal classified or sensitive information as to why the law is justified and needed. Read More

Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, said he’s still interested in buying TikTok’s US operation from its Chinese owner, and believes the social media app’s critical video recommendation technology could be replicated.

“I’ve actually spoken to a lot of tech companies on working about rebuilding this,” Mnuchin said Tuesday in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “I do believe the algorithms could be rebuilt. So my plan, if we were to purchase, it would be to rebuild the technology under US leadership, make sure that it’s all disconnected from ByteDance going forward, and that it is very robust and secure.” Read More


  • President Joe Biden heads to Racine County, Wis., in the morning, where he’ll deliver remarks around 12:45 p.m. at Gateway Technical College and participate in a campaign event around 2:15 p.m. Read More about Biden’s trip.
  • Biden will then head to Chicago, where he’ll participate in a campaign event around 5:30 p.m.
  • The president will return to the White House around 11 p.m.


  • The House meets at noon to vote on adding a citizenship question to the census
  • Senators convene at 10 a.m. to resume consideration of the FAA reauthorization bill.
  • For the full detailed agenda, read BGOV’s Congress Tracker.

From BGOV’s Hill Reporters

Senators agreed on a contentious provision in the FAA REAUTHORIZATION bill to require automatic refunds for some passengers on canceled flights, a step forward for sweeping aviation legislation, Lillianna Byington and Zach C. Cohen report.

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday moved to cut off debate on the bill so that he can force more procedural votes starting Thursday on it regardless of whether all senators consent.
  • Agreement to speed up debate, or a short-term extension, still would be needed to prevent the FAA’s authority from running out on Friday. Read More

The House failed to OVERRIDE Biden’s VETO of a measure that would have blocked the National Labor Relations Board’s joint employer rule, Diego Areas Munhoz reports.

  • Despite the failure to undo the regulation through legislative means, the rule is currently on ice after a federal judge in Texas struck it down in March. Read More

Happening on the Hill

UNDOCUMENTED young people will be the subject of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today, as the program that’s protected over half a million “Dreamers” for nearly 12 years faces an uncertain future.

  • New applications to DACA have been frozen for the past three years after a federal district court judge in Texas found that it was unlawfully implemented. Read More

Ex-Congressman Punches Return Ticket With Indiana Primary Win

Former members of Congress who want their old jobs back went one-for-two in Indiana’s Republican primaries.

Novo Asks for More Time to Answer Sanders on Ozempic’s Price

Novo Nordisk A/S is asking for more time to answer questions from US Senator Bernie Sanders on the prices of Ozempic and Wegovy, the company’s blockbuster drugs for diabetes and weight loss.

GOP Rep. Jordan Probes F1 Over Andretti Global Exclusion: NBC

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan accuses Formula 1 and its US owner Liberty Media of engaging in anticompetitive conduct over the decision to deny Andretti Global’s bid to enter the F1 in 2025 or 2026, NBC reports, citing the Ohio Republican’s letter to President and CEO of Formula One Group Stefano Domenicali and Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei.

People, Power, Politics, and Probes

DONALD TRUMP’s criminal trial for allegedly mishandling classified documents has been postponed indefinitely in a blow to the Justice Department’s efforts to obtain a jury verdict before November’s presidential election.

  • District Judge Aileen Cannon, overseeing the criminal proceeding in Florida, set a new schedule for motions in the case and announced that the May 20 trial date will be pushed back indefinitely.
  • In an order yesterday, Cannon said setting a new trial date now would be “inconsistent with the Court’s duty to fully and fairly consider the various pending pre-trial motions before the Court.” Read More
Donald Trump in New York yesterday. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images/Bloomberg

Meanwhile, STORMY DANIELS described her alleged affair with TRUMP in a highly-anticipated moment of his hush-money trial.

  • “He was wearing silk or satin pajamas that I immediately made fun of,” Daniels said as a prosecutor questioned her about the encounter.
  • The scene injected a tabloid-ready moment into the trial, with the adult-film actress confronting the former president before a jury of New Yorkers who will determine his fate. Read More

Supreme Court Unanimity Is Fleeting With Tougher Cases Looming

The US Supreme Court’s unanimity in early decisions will be hard to maintain as the justices decide controversial questions on presidential immunity, abortion, and the so-called administrative state.

NFL Falcons Owner, Bergdorf Goodman’s Penick to Raise Biden Cash

Prominent business leaders, including Darcy Penick of Bergdorf Goodman Inc., former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, venture capitalist Vinod Khosla and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank,are among those hosting political fundraisers for President Joe Biden as the campaign taps Democratic-donor rich Silicon Valley and Chicago for cash.

White House Promotes Press Aides as Biden Sharpens 2024 Focus

The White House is elevating two longtime press aides following the departure of press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s top deputy, as part of an effort to bolster the press shop’s operations ahead of President Joe Biden’s reelection bid.

Record Wave of Americans Fled Big Cities for Small Ones in 2023

Score a victory for Mayberry. America’s small towns, like the iconic setting of television’s The Andy Griffith Show from the 1960s, saw more in-migration in 2023 than larger areas for the first time in decades.

What Else We’re Reading

US Pauses Arms Shipment to Israel Over Rafah Invasion Plans

The US paused a shipment of bombs to Israel over concerns about a potential military offensive on the Gazan city of Rafah, which President Joe Biden opposes, according to a senior administration official.

US Revokes Intel, Qualcomm Licenses to Sell Chips to Huawei

The US has revoked licenses allowing Huawei Technologies Co. to buy semiconductors from Qualcomm Inc. and Intel Corp., according to people familiar with the matter, further tightening export restrictions against the Chinese telecom equipment maker.

FDIC Probe Finds Credible Allegations of Toxic Workplace

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. staff have for years suffered through a toxic culture that fails to keep many of them safe from sexual harassment or discrimination, according to a review of the bank regulator’s workplace.

Oil Heavyweights Challenge Biden Methane Rule in Bid for Changes

The oil industry’s top trade group filed a petition in federal court challenging Biden administration mandates cracking down on planet-warming methane emissions from wells, tanks and pipelines, even as it pushes the government to make administrative changes.

Suspicions of Fake China Cooking Oil Alarm US Biofuel Industry

China is flooding the US with used cooking oil that the biofuel industry says may be tainted, hurting American farmers and President Joe Biden’s push to promote climate-friendly energy.

Fed Faces Heat From Fellow Regulators on Banker Bonus Proposal

US regulators’ latest attempt to restrict banking executive bonuses is likely to fall short amid hesitation from the Federal Reserve, but the long-awaited proposal is poised to resurface in 2025 if President Joe Biden is re-elected.

Alaska Air, Hawaiian Tie-Up to Get DOJ Ruling by Early August

The US Justice Department must decide by August 5 whether it will seek to block a tie-up between Alaska Air Group Inc. and Hawaiian Holdings Inc., the airlines said in securities filings on Tuesday.

To contact the reporters on this story: Brandon Lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com; Jeannie Baumann in Washington at jbaumann@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kayla Sharpe at ksharpe@bloombergindustry.com; Giuseppe Macri at gmacri@bgov.com

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