Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee talked with Fox News Radio's Guy Benson about reopening her state's economy as several other states ease restrictions of stay at home orders due to COVID-19. Sen. Blackburn also slammed China for their mishandling of the Coronavirus pandemic. Floating ways to hold China accountable Blackburn raised the question of "The Interest On The Debt Payments That They Hold".
Listen To The Full Interview Below:
Guy Benson: Welcome into a new hour, a fresh hour of the Guy Benson Show, I'm Guy Benson live broadcasting from my home. Glad that you're here listening wherever you may happen to be. Guy Benson's show Dot.com is the Web site. Log on to Guy Benson's show dot com for all sorts of goodies, including the ways to listen, live or listen after the fact. The podcast is always free. Fox News Alert as we have entered the 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time hour. The markets are closed up in New York City and the Dow closing just ever so slightly down, down 32 points today. So in red territory, but basically flat. Also, we are still watching the event at the White House. This is ongoing in the East ROOM. President Trump along with a number of his. Administration members, including the treasury secretary, they are now taking some questions from small business owners. They were also taking questions, sparring a little bit with the press. We've been monitoring that. We will continue to do so. In the meantime, we are very pleased. Welcome back to the show. Republican U.S. Senator from Tennessee, Marsha Blackburn, who is with us now by phone. Hello, Senator.
Sen. Blackburn: Hi there. How are you doing? I hope you're staying say.
Guy Benson: Likewise, we're doing OK. It's very strange. I barely ever leave the house and haven't done so for weeks on end. And I've sort of strangely gotten used to it. But I I'm sort of going a little bit crazy. Senator, I have to be honest. So hopefully, hopefully things start to open up responsibly and carefully soon here in Virginia. We know that process is already underway in your state of Tennessee. So let's start there. What are your thoughts on the governor's decision making process so far? What seems to be the best approach for the volunteer state, in your view?
Sen. Blackburn: Well, the best approach is just exactly what Governor Lee is doing. We have our employers and employees that are anxious to get back to work. And I will tell you, guy. People want to go back to a safe work environment. Our employers are working hard to make that happen. They're taking extra steps to be sure there is PPE, that places are disinfected and sanitized and that the workplace is going to be safe.
Guy Benson: And so as you think about what's happening in Tennessee and you juxtapose that approach with the president's plan, the three phased plan, does the federal plan, the Trump administration's task force plan makes sense to you? Do you think that what Governor Lee's doing basically aligns with what we've heard recommended from the White House and Dr. Bourke's and Dr. Faci?
Sen. Blackburn: I think that it does align. And here's the reason why we don't what our numbers are in Tennessee. We know that half the people that have been infected with Kogut, 19, have recovered. We know our number of hospitalizations, which is just under 900. And you have just over 9000 that have been infected. And of course, we are looking at the loss of life numbers, too, and very sad for those families who have felt that loss. And so we're watching it all very closely, phasing it in and saying parts of the state that have had a very low tax load, they should be opening back up and those employers should be going back to work with those employees. And people are really ready to do that. Areas that have been more effective like Memphis and Nashville. They're going to be going later in this process. And that's the right thing to do. So fencing it in, allowing individuals and employers to make this decision, making certain that there are protections for those that are vulnerable women, that are expectant mothers, those that have a history of heart and lung disease. And people want to do right by their employees. Nobody wants someone to get covered 19. They want people to stay safe in their workplace, come to work, and they don't want to see a spike in the number of infections.
Guy Benson: Senator, we just had one of your colleagues, Pat Toomey, on the show in the last hour. We had Mitch McConnell on yesterday. And I'm very curious to get your thoughts on the next round of coronavirus relief. It really seems like the Democrats dig in and fight tooth and nail every round of these things and some of the simple bipartisan ideas, they try to add some stuff on and they've had some minimal success. But these things tend to take longer than I think they should. It does sound like the next big fight might be over money going to state and local governments because on one hand, you have a lot of states and localities getting just blasted by coronavirus spending. And you're talking about first responders and there's all sorts of genuine concerns there and states needing help. There's also the worry among fiscal conservatives that some of these states may take advantage of this crisis and say, well, maybe we can get some of our preexisting fiscal problems taken care of here from Uncle Sam. Let's ask for a bunch of money and maybe we can put that toward some of the stuff that we've been really reckless about. That has nothing to do with coronavirus. How are you thinking about what this next round of relief might look like? And do you have any red lines in your mind about what you're willing to support or not support?
Sen. Blackburn: There should be no federal government money used to bail out a state, and that is something that is important to me. Tennessee has been a very well-managed state. We have a small state government. We do not have a state income tax. We have one of the best pension funded liability ratios of anybody in the country. And for us to go bail out people that have some of the worst liability ratios, New York, California, Illinois and those states. It is absolutely wrong to ask Tennessee taxpayers to see their tax dollars go to pay for decades of bad mistakes and mismanagement by these other states. So it's the next round. What you're going to see and hear a lot about is liability protections, regulatory relief, regulatory reform. If you've got rules and regulations that have been on the books that were waived for at 19, they ought to stay off the books. There is no reason for those to continue. You're also going to see us talk about how you get more money to the individual. How about that payroll tax holiday? How about tax credit for employers who are taking extra steps at great expense to re open and provide that safe work environment? The extra disinfectants and sanitation that is needed in those work environments. So our focus is going to be on getting people back to work, getting people moving back into the workplace and getting energy back into the economy and economic growth.
Guy Benson: I want to ask you about China. Senator, I know a lot of your colleagues. Frankly, it seems like there is some sentiment on both sides of the aisle, certainly among the American people across the spectrum, a lot of righteous anger at China and the stories out of China and what their government is up to continue to be just outrageous. I saw them threatening the Australian government the other day, economically threatening them for saying that there should be an independent investigation into the origins of this disease that we know started in Wuhan. Just your current thought process as you talk to some of your colleagues in the Senate. What would what would be an avenue or two for accountability for China that you would consider?
Sen. Blackburn: One of the things that we need to consider in dealing with China is looking at the debt. They hold over a trillion dollars of our debt and they like going into the debt market and buying our debt because we are a good investment. They should waive the payment when those payments to them come due because they have cost our economy already six trillion dollars and we could end up being an additional five trillion dollar hit to our economy for all.
Guy Benson: How do we get them to do that, though? Because that sounds like a great thing. But how do you how do you cajole or coerce China into forgiving that debt?
Sen. Blackburn: This is something that we will discuss as we move forward. What is going to be the best way to deal with them and initiate those discussions with China? Here is one of the points to bear in mind. Everybody knows this started in China. They can try to rewrite history. You know, they can go about banning us on Twitter, trying to sanitize all the information that has been in the news. But it is a point on the plate. Everybody agrees China caused this and they lied about it and they hid information. So an immediate thing that we can do is begin to review and raise the question with them about the interest on the debt payments that they hold. I think that that's an idea that is worthy of exploration looking forward. What we need to do is look at what we manufacture for each item that needs to come back. Critical infrastructure items, whether it is our pharmaceuticals or telecommunications equipment, or maybe it is electronic or other p.p.s. items, PPE items in the health care field or automobile parts or aftermarket automobile parts. There are so many things that are important to us. And to our supply chains that we need that began to move that manufacturing back on store. China has made a career out of stealing our intellectual property. They they go in with low cost labor and inexpensive manufacturing. And the next thing that someone who is created an invention or a company is dealing with is they are looking at how they are going to get their intellectual property back. So that manufacturing component, another one is the stop code, that act. Senator Mike Sally and Representative Goulden and I have filed and this is a course of action that would be open through the foreign sovereign immunity to act so that U.S. citizens who have been adversely impacted, loss of life, loss of livelihood because of cozied 19. They could go to a U.S. court and have a right of action in that court to jurisdiction to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable. They lied about that. And we know that Kogut, 19, through the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act, is a biological agent. And because of China's omissions or sins of commission. And the fact that they knew about this did not share that information with the world. We have standing just as you have families from the nine eleven families that sought reparations. You have the Beirut bombings. This has been used before. And it's something that we should have available to our U.S. citizens.
Guy Benson: Yeah. And whether it originated in a wet market or in a laboratory and escaped as an accident, we know that the cover up in the lying started almost immediately and had very significant consequences, not just for China, but for the whole world and a lot of Americans. Senator Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, thank you for your time. We look forward to having you back.
Sen. Blackburn: Thank you.
Guy Benson: We're going to take a quick break. When we come back from this break, I want to play you something that happened on special report last night. Heartwarming, a little nostalgic, a little sentimental. That audio is coming up on the Guy Benson Show.