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00:03: With a Republican-led house and a Democrat-led Senate, most have expected gridlock to define Washington,
00:09: but some meaningful bipartisan legislation is making its way through.
00:14: In this episode, we sit down with Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn to discuss some key
00:18: bills that are poised to pass the upper chamber.
00:21: I'm Daily Wire, editor-in-chief John Bickley with Georgia Howell.
00:25: It's Saturday June 3rd, and this is an extra edition of Morning Wire.
00:32: Joining us to discuss some of the legislation being considered in the Senate is Tennessee
00:36: Senator Marsha Blackburn.
00:38: Senator, welcome.
00:39: Now, you and some of your colleagues recently introduced the American Defense Technologies
00:45: First, what's the purpose of this bill?
00:47: This is intended to spur innovation and to make certain that as we look at great power
00:54: competition that we encourage DOD to use some of these innovations that are taking place
01:02: in the private sector. Our role is to create the environment for jobs growth to take place.
01:10: We do that part to get rid of regulation to open doors of opportunity. And then to also make
01:17: certain that our government agencies are utilizing these next generation best technologies,
01:26: better ideas that are coming out of a private sector.
01:30: That's how you build efficiency in government.
01:33: Now, China is on a lot of people's minds when we discuss both the military and innovation.
01:38: Does this bill address competition with our adversaries, particularly China?
01:43: It does indeed address this because what it does is turn that emphasis.
01:49: How do we make certain that we are out innovating China?
01:54: How do we make certain that we are looking at all available tools when it comes to great power competition?
02:02: Everyone is concerned about what China is doing, whether it is their belt, road initiatives,
02:08: debt diplomacy, great power competition on the military and the interesting thing about
02:15: China.
02:16: And I would add to this the other members of what I call the new axis of evil, which is
02:22: Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.
02:26: What you have is people that want to defeat the U.S. as the world's lone superpower.
02:32: What we have to do is say, let's be smart about this.
02:36: We've got the greatest minds, the greatest innovators on the face of the earth.
02:41: So let's make certain the tools that they are developing that we consider these utilizations
02:51: in our military complex as well as society benefiting from these.
02:58: Now another bill you were a part of was just reintroduced the Empowering Law Enforcement
03:03: What would that bill do if passed?
03:06: What this would do is allow local law enforcement to access grants to beef up their forces.
03:13: Every time I talk with our Sheriff's and Police Department across the state of Tennessee,
03:19: what they will tell me is, look, we don't have enough people on the force.
03:23: And right now, because of defund the police and other actions that have taken place from
03:28: the left that have basically shown disrespect for law enforcement that have
03:35: demeaned members of the law enforcement community. And there are so many people
03:41: that say, well, I don't want to go into law enforcement. I might go into private
03:46: security, but I'm not going into law enforcement. So by making these grants
03:52: available and encouraging the hiring of police people that are there in your local community.
04:00: What it will do is help us to have more people on the beat, more security officers at schools.
04:08: It will help us as we look for fighting crime in these communities,
04:12: interdicting drugs that are making their way to the communities dealing with the human trafficking
04:19: and sex trafficking that's taking place in our communities and neighborhoods.
04:24: Speaking of human trafficking and drugs, obviously border states experience this at a heightened
04:29: level. Does this bill allocate more resources to border states?
04:34: No, because every town's a border town in every state is a border state. That is what we
04:40: have learned from these open border policies of the Biden administration. We've got record
04:47: numbers of people coming to our border. Indeed, people from 176 different countries came to our
04:55: border last year. This year we're looking at a greater number than that. We've already had 6.3
05:04: million people cross that border. So these funds are available for law enforcement entities
05:12: all across the country. Another bill you've proposed that also addresses some drug and human
05:16: trafficking issues is the Kids Online Safety Act.
05:19: How specifically does it protect children on social media?
05:23: This would be the legislation that is your first attempt at reigning in big tech,
05:30: because it puts the responsibility on these big tech platforms to design for safety by default.
05:38: It makes the settings available to parents and teens so that they can disable these algorithms.
05:45: it requires opening those algorithms up not only to parents and teens but also to third party
05:53: researchers so that they can audit what is happening with these algorithms. So developing that toolbox
06:03: is essential for parents and this would also give parents a designated portal where they can
06:13: report this bad content that we are targeting, things that promote suicide, cyber bullying,
06:22: eating disorders, self-arm. Some of these postings that lead to kids meeting drug dealers.
06:30: And we've recently met with the DEA, one of the biggest problems they have right now is the
06:36: away fentanyl and zyzane is being sold online. The drug dealers are using these online platforms.
06:46: So it gives parents the ability to report these pedophiles and sex traffickers and drug dealers.
06:54: And then social media would have a shot clock where they have to go take these postings down.
07:01: We've had people that have lost their children to these tick-tock challenges, the choking challenge.
07:07: We've talked to a few parents whose children died doing that choking challenge, another one the croning challenge.
07:15: And these things are promoted on these platforms.
07:19: They have no business being there.
07:21: You know our children are exposed to things in the virtual space that there are laws against exposure
07:27: to these things in the physical space.
07:30: So these protections need to be put online.
07:33: The burden for this needs to be on social media.
07:37: And what is the status of this legislation?
07:41: The kids online safety act we think is going to move forward quickly.
07:46: It will be coming out of Commerce Committee.
07:49: We think that our Innovation Act is going to move out of Commerce
07:55: and probably will also see some discussion during the NDAA.
07:59: and that should be done this summer.
08:02: Final question, stepping back some here.
08:04: Do you feel that the current divided Senate
08:06: is able to accomplish meaningful work together
08:09: to compromise and get some important legislation passed?
08:12: When it comes to protecting children online, there has been wide bipartisan support.
08:18: We have the CSAM Bill, we have the Earn It Act,
08:21: the Report Act, the Kids Online Safety Act.
08:24: There has been a bipartisan agreement
08:27: that something has to be done to reign in big tech and to protect children online.
08:34: When it comes to supporting the military,
08:37: there are more of our members across the aisle
08:40: that realize China is a true threat.
08:44: They are not a competitor.
08:46: They are an adversary.
08:48: I know this the White House wants us to look at them as a competitor, they are not.
08:53: They are an adversary.
08:54: they want to take a stand and be globally dominant.
08:58: By the time we get to 2050.
09:00: Certainly important to know who our adversaries are.
09:03: Senator, thank you so much for joining us.
09:05: Good to join you, thank you.
09:07: That was Senator Marshall Blackburn
09:08: and this has been an extra edition of Morning Wire.