The jungle book

Senator Blackburn discusses broadband, abortion, January 6 and Loretta Lynn

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Broadband access continues to be a problem in our state.

“Part of our goal is to expand broadband, to bridge the digital divide,” said Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee).

But this year, Tennessee got a boost. The state uses $500 million from American Rescue Plan (ARP) to develop the Internet.

“The federal government has provided a lot of funding over the past two years for internet connectivity efforts,” FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said. “But the administration is not as coordinated in these efforts as I would like.”

The ARP was President Joe Biden’s program to help people recover from the pandemic. Interestingly, joining nearly all Republicans in the United States, Blackburn voted against the plan.

“That’s what you’re always going to see when you have these big behemoths of a bill,” Blackburn said. “That’s one of the reasons I say take the issues one at a time and make sure we’re meeting people’s needs.”

Since the Democrats currently control the Senate, the the party line vote saw the plan passbringing us to Blackburn and Carr’s comments on Tuesday.

Both Blackburn and Carr noted that the ARP is not the only source of funding for broadband, both statewide and federal, and that the dollars currently used for broadband throughput are from earlier programs.

“There are probably over 100, I think it’s 133, different broadband programs going on right now,” Carr said. “The new infrastructure initiative is one that the dollars won’t start to flow in, probably until next year.

Broadband wasn’t the only thing Blackburn was talking about either. She was interrogated on several topics, including abortion. A reporter asked if she would support Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) bill that would ban abortion after 15 weeks.

“Well, I’m pro-life, and I always have been pro-life,” Blackburn said. What we’re going to see is the states, according to the Dobbs decision, the states are going to have the opportunity to step in and decide how they’re going to approach this. I can’t wait to see what the states will do.

“Would you rather this not be taken up at the national level?” The reporter replied.

“We’ll see what the states do,” Blackburn said.

Another question she received was regarding the January 6 riot at the United States Capitol in 2021.

“On January 6, I was at work. I was there at the Capitol,” Blackburn said. “We know that those who have broken the law must be treated accordingly. Those who haven’t should also be given the opportunity to voice their thoughts.

Finally, Blackburn issued a quick statement on the passing of Loretta Lynn on Tuesday.

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“I think I join everyone in Tennesse in just expressing my condolences to the Lynn family and knowing that they are heartbroken,” she said. “She is such an iconic figure, she has done so much to help others and she will be sorely missed.”