The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa Republicans voice support for $95 billion foreign aid package, TikTok ban

The bill appropriating billions in aid also could ban TikTok from the app store.
Carly Schrum
Photo Illustration by Carly Schrum

President Joe Biden signed a $95 billion foreign aid package into law on Wednesday, including almost $60 billion in aid to Ukraine that was previously stalled by hard-right Republicans who oppose the aid.

The bill also included provisions that would require parent company ByteDance to divest from TikTok or the app would be banned from the U.S.

All four Iowa members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Iowa’s two senators voted for the measure.

Iowa Republicans supported foreign aid

The $95 billion bill included $60 billion in aid to Ukraine, $26 billion in aid to Israel — $9 billion of which would go to humanitarian aid in Gaza — and $8 billion in aid to allies in the Indo-Pacific region to counter China.

Most of the aid goes to Ukraine to troops outgunned by the Russian military. U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, emphasized the need for the aid in a floor speech before a procedural vote on the aid package.

“The only way to lasting peace is strength,” Grassley said. “That is what Ronald Reagan showed Americans. Strength is what we need now in the face of aggression from Russia and Iran and threats from China. I don’t buy this notion that it is a conservative or Republican position to abandon the American leadership that has kept the peace since World War II, meaning no World War III.”

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, also voted for the package and said Biden’s appeasement of foreign adversaries invited “chaos across the globe.”

“Any American weakness is a greenlight to Iranian terrorists and the [Chinese Communist Party’s] attempts to infiltrate our own homeland, which is why I was proud to equip our nation to push back against authoritarians and end their terror before another American life is lost,” Ernst said in a news release.

TikTok ban included in aid package

The TikTok bill that has previously been passed in the House was included in an amended version of the U.S. Senate’s foreign aid package that was sent to the President on Wednesday.

The bill requires ByteDance to sell its shares of the app, or it would be removed from app stores. The bill also instates a ban on U.S. companies hosting the app on their servers, likely leading to a slow death for the app on American devices.

This provision of the law is expected to see legal challenge from TikTok, which stated on Wednesday that the provisions violated American citizens’ freedom of speech and expression.

“This unconstitutional law is a TikTok ban, and we will challenge it in court,” TikTok posted in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter. “The fact is, we have invested billions of dollars to keep U.S. data safe and our platform free from outside influence and manipulation.”

In response to this U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, reposted the statement, adding that the app’s refusal to cut ties with ByteDance is telling.

“TikTok’s refusal to cut ties with ByteDance should tell you all you need to know,” Hinson wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Wednesday. “All they have to do to keep operating in the U.S. is ensure Communist China can’t control the algorithm & content on the app. Time is up for TikTok.”

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About the Contributors
Liam Halawith
Liam Halawith, Politics Editor
Liam Halawith is a third-year student at the University of Iowa studying Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Public Policy. Before his role as Politics Editor Liam was a politics reporter for the DI. Outside of the DI Liam has interned at the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Southeast Iowa Union. This is his second year working for the DI.
Carly Schrum
Carly Schrum, Photojournalist
Carly is a freshman majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication and potentially majoring in sustainability. She works at the Daily Iowan as a photojournalist.