Speaking earlier today to reporters, Sen. Mark Warner was feeling under the weather but still had a lot to say:
- “As you can tell from my voice, I’m more than a little bit under the weather and so my opening comments will be relatively short.”
- “First of all…a big shout out and congratulations to the Hokie women’s basketball team, their first time in the Final Four…also want to give a shoutout as well to something that didn’t get as much attention, but Christopher Newport University’s men’s team won the Division III men’s championship, so congratulations to CNU.”
- “I’m still relatively optimistic…the debt ceiling…I’m a big believer that the debt ceiling is a political hand grenade that has been given to potentially irresponsible players that literally could blow up the economy. Coming on the heels of some of the challenges in the banking industry, coming on the heels of the efforts of the Fed to lower inflation, if we were to self-inflict this wound by using the debt ceiling and basically default on the full faith and credit of the American government, it would be political insanity. And it would have a very real cost. There’s been a recent joint economic committee report that said for an average Virginia family, because it would push up interest rates since folks couldn’t trust us to pay our bills, you would see on average an average family in Virginia…would increase their mortgage payments by about $150 a month. That’s a lot of money that wouldn’t have to happen if we’d simply pay our bills. It would also potentially affect 1.6 million Virginians who get Social Security, another 1.6 million Virginians who get Medicare. Those obligations could fall away as well if we are not responsible with the debt ceiling…We have over 700 000 veterans in our state; veterans programs would be one of the ones that could potentially be on the chopping block. So we raised the debt ceiling three times without political drama during the tenure of President Trump. I sure as heck hope my House Republican friends will not in effect lob this political hand grenade into our already somewhat fragile economic conditions… Biden has laid out his budget, I think the House Republicans ought to lay out their budget, show where they would make the cuts, where they would make changes, and then there can be a negotiation. But this notion that there’s not even a responsibility when the Republicans have the majority in the House to put up what their plan is, is more than a little bit disingenuous.”
- On TikTok: ‘We’re the only broadly bipartisan legislation that’s out there. Yesterday we picked up four more Senators, so we’re up to 26 Senators – 13 Democrats, 13 Republicans. We have support of the administration. And the reason why I think we’re gaining support is because we need a rules-based
approach so that we’re not arbitrarily going out and banning a certain application like TikTok. I’ve seen this from a national security perspective as chairman of the intelligence committee. A few years back, we had concerns about Kaspersky, the Russian software company; more recently we had concerns about the Chinese telecom companies Huawei and ZTE; now it’s TikTok. We need a rules-based approach that would give the Secretary of Commerce the ability to require divestiture up to ban or other tools…It would still be incumbent upon the Secretary of Commerce to prove that this is a systemic national security risk…there are higher standards that have to be met when we’re talking about a communications technology…Chinese law requires that they have to respond to the desires of the Communist Party of China…Do we really want that data and the potential blackmail or other uses that could be used in the hands of the Communist Party?...That is a powerful propaganda tool that would make frankly other efforts of misinformation and disinformation pale…I believe the market will produce another platform…”
- On the Nashville shootings: “I think we’ve struck the right balance in Virginia. And I think we desperately need a red flag law…I think we ought to ban, as we did in the past, assault weapons, weapons of war…I’m tired of our politicians that come out and say they’re going to pray for somebody, offer thoughts and prayers, and then do squat. It’s embarrassing. And actually on this one, President Biden’s right, he’s taken it as far as we could he can go with executive action…the fact that you can’t point to any other industrial country in the world and see this kind of carnage on their streets is because they have a different approach to gun laws. I support the Second Amendment. I think the vast majority of of gun owners believe, whether it’s background checks, red flag laws, appropriate restrictions on assault weapons, that’s common sense. And how many more tragedies and how many more platitudes from politicians do we have to hear before people act? And at the end of the day if Virginians or Tennesseans are angry, then change the people that you send to Congress, so that you hire people that will do the will of the people and put sensible gun legislation to place.”
- Warner also said that military bases “shouldn’t be named after individuals who literally rose up in arms against the American military” (in the Civil War).