Data bills from McMorris Rodgers, Latta advance to full House for consideration

The U.S. House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee on March 7 twice voted 50-0 to approve two separate bipartisan bills, one cosponsored by U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and the other by U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), that aim to protect American data and national security from foreign adversaries.

Both bills now head to the full U.S. House of Representatives for action.

The committee advanced the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, H.R. 7521, which Rep. Latta cosponsored on March 5 with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and 18 other original cosponsors, including U.S. Reps. John Moolenaar (R-MI), Ashley Hinson (R-IA), and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL). 

“I’m proud to help lead this bipartisan legislation to keep Americans safe from foreign adversaries like Communist China, and I look forward to this bill being brought to a vote before the U.S. House of Representatives,” Rep. Latta said.

If enacted, H.R. 7521 would protect Americans and prevent foreign adversaries like China from targeting, surveilling, and manipulating the American people through online applications such as TikTok, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Latta’s staff. 

Specifically, H.R. 7521 would prevent app store availability or web hosting services in the United States for ByteDance-controlled applications, including TikTok, unless the application severs ties to entities that are subject to the control of a foreign adversary, the summary says.

“The American people should be aware that the bill we passed today in the Energy and Commerce Committee provides TikTok with the opportunity to remain active in the United States if they divest from the Chinese Communist Party – it’s that simple,” Rep. Latta said. “Let me make this clear: this bill is not a ban on TikTok. This is about preventing the Chinese Communist Party from surveilling, targeting, manipulating, and stealing the private information of Americans. 

“With this bill,” he added, “TikTok has a choice: they can either sever ties with Communist China to keep their app active or they will end up shutting themselves down in the United States.” 

The E&C Committee also advanced the Protecting Americans’ Data from Foreign Adversaries Act of 2024, H.R. 7520, which Rep. McMorris Rodgers cosponsored on March 5 alongside bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ).

“I’m thankful to everyone who has worked in a bipartisan manner to get us here today,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers, chair of the E&C Committee, “including Ranking Member Pallone and China Select Committee on the CCP Chair Mike Gallagher and Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi.”

If enacted, H.R. 7520 would limit how data brokers share Americans’ sensitive information abroad, says a bill summary provided by the chair’s staff.

“Data brokers collect a stunning amount of sensitive information and data on Americans, from people’s physical and mental health, to when and where they’re traveling,” Rep. McMorris Rodgers said prior to the committee vote. “Once collected, this sensitive information is sold to the highest bidder, including foreign adversaries, like China. 

“This is an important complement to our continued efforts to establish a comprehensive data privacy standard in order to effectively crack down on abuses of Americans’ personal information,” said the congresswoman.