Top Republicans Clash Over Major Issue

( – On Wednesday afternoon, Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had a spirited debate over the future of the social media app, TikTok, on the Senate floor as they discussed possible regulations for the app.

The two conservatives clashed after Hawley tried to win unanimous consent to pass a bill that would completely ban TikTok in the U.S. and it would also ban all commercial activities from ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company. However, Paul was quick to shut down Hawley’s request.

Prior to his objection to Hawley’s request, he put forth two different reasons for his opposition. The first one was that speech was protected under the First Amendment, and the second one was that “the Constitution actually prohibits bills of attainder.”

The Constitution prohibits bills of attainder, which would enable the government to punish entities or individuals without a trial. Paul argued that those in favor of banning TikTok are banking on fear and has argued that Big Tech companies in the U.S. also gather a large amount of data without being scrutinized by the federal government.

Hawley however counterattacked Paul’s claims by stating that this was the first time that someone on the Senate floor had defended “the right to spy.” He proceeded to claim that the First Amendment did not defend the “right to espionage” and that he must have missed the “Bill Of Rights” which allowed the “Chinese government to spy on Americans.” He concluded that this is what the case was about.

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