NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Broadband access continues to be an issue in our state.
“Part of our focus is expanding broadband, closing the digital divide,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee).
“The federal government has provided a lot of funding over the last couple of years for internet connectivity efforts,” FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr. “But the administration isn’t as coordinated in those efforts as I would like.”
The ARP was President Joe Biden’s package to help people recover from the pandemic. Interestingly enough, joining nearly every Republican in the U.S., Blackburn voted against the plan.
“That is what you’re always going to see when you have these big behemoths of a bill,” Blackburn said. “It’s one of the reasons that I say let’s take issues up one at a time, and let’s focus on making certain that we’re addressing what people need.”
Since Democrats currently control the Senate, the party line vote saw the plan pass, bringing us to Blackburn’s and Carr’s comments on Tuesday.
Both Blackburn and Carr noted that the ARP isn’t the only source of funding for broadband, both state-wide and federally and that dollars currently being used for broadband are from past programs.
“There’s 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 flowing from it, likely until next year.”
Broadband wasn’t the only thing Blackburn discussed either. She was asked about several topics, including abortion. A reporter asked if she would support Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-South Carolina) bill that would outlaw abortion after 15 weeks.
“Well, I’m pro-life, and I’ve always 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 up and decide how they’re going to approach this. I look forward to seeing what the states are going to do.”
“Would you rather it not be taken up nationally?” The reporter countered.
“We’re going to see what the states do,” Blackburn said.
Another question she received was about the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol back in 2021.
“January 6th, I was at work. I was there in the Capitol,” Blackburn said. “We know that those that broke the law should be dealt with accordingly. Those that did not should also have the opportunity to express their thoughts.”
Finally, Blackburn made a quick statement on the passing of Loretta Lynn on Tuesday.
“I think that I join all Tennesseans in just expressing condolences to the Lynn family and knowing they are just heartbroken,” she said. “She is such an iconic figure, she did so much to help others and she will be greatly missed.”