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Photo Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Aid packages should never be combined with other unrelated bills. (Op-Ed)

Providing humanitarian and military aid to allies is a common way that the United States shows its support and defense of democracy. However, many hidden little acts rest in the fine print of these bills. No one in their right mind would vote against providing aid to people who are in dire need, right? To vote against sending Ukraine aid seems exceptionally cruel, but in the fine print, if passed, Congress would effectively ban TikTok. The divest-or-ban bill is being fast-tracked with this strategy. The bill, which would require TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, either to sell the popular social media network to an American company or face a ban in the U.S., has been attached to an aid package for Ukraine and Israel, according to a memo issued by House Speaker Mike Johnson.

“We expect the vote on final passage on these bills to be on Saturday evening,” Johnson wrote in the memo to House Republicans.

“It is unfortunate that the House of Representatives is using the cover of important foreign and humanitarian assistance to once again jam through a ban bill that would trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans, devastate 7 million businesses, and shutter a platform that contributes $24 billion to the U.S. economy, annually,” a TikTok spokesperson told CBS News. The bill has had some changes, one extending the time ByteDance has to sell the platform from 6 months to 9 months.

This is incredibly divisive and manipulative. TikTok has absolutely nothing to do with sending humanitarian aid, yet it is allowed to be combined? What a cowardly way to pass a bill! Those who oppose the TikTok ban and vote against the measure will be improperly labeled as coldhearted, uncaring people who chose not to send humanitarian aid. Banning TikTok restricts American access to free speech, but people in Ukraine desperately need aid to survive Russia’s brutal attacks.

Any bill that is not directly related to humanitarian aid should not be coupled with any measure that provides life-saving measures. It is not fair to both the American people and Ukrainians, who are fighting for their lives and their country daily.  


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