IN Focus: Sen. Todd Young talks infrastructure, Endless Frontier Act, cybersecurity

IN Focus: Indiana Politics
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a one-on-one interview this past week with Statehouse reporter Kristen Eskow, Sen. Todd Young (R-Indiana) discussed the ongoing infrastructure talks in Washington, D.C., along with the U.S. Senate’s passage of the Endless Frontier Act and the growing threat of cyberattacks.

“We can still legislate in this country and do important things if we work together,” Young said.

Sen. Young said he is holding out hope Democrats and Republicans can pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill.

“I think the president should take an approach related to infrastructure like I’m taking with the Endless Frontier Act,” he said.

Young sponsors that bill, which passed the U.S. Senate days ago on a 68-32 vote. It’s meant to make the U.S. more competitive against China in science and technology, he explained.

“Ultimately we need to outgrow, out-innovate and outcompete the Chinese Communist Party,” Young said. “We can only do that by doing what we did post-World War II, which is investing in ourselves, our human capital like we invested in the GI Bill, we invested in people’s training and education.

“This is a bipartisan measure,” Young added. “The most sweeping, toughest, anti-Chinese Communist Party piece of legislation ever.”

Getting tough, Young said, is what he wants to see from President Biden as he meets with Russian president Vladimir Putin this week. The trip to Europe comes not long after Russian criminal groups were linked to massive cyberattacks.

“One of the things that the president of the United States must communicate unambiguously to Vladimir Putin, perhaps communicate through action, is that we can punch back harder than we can take a punch,” Sen. Young said. “We have an offense of cyber capability that can really be injurious to Vladimir Putin and to his cronies.”

Sen. Young said he believes both government and private entities need to step up their cybersecurity.

“One of the things we need to recognize is the federal government isn’t hardened to the extent we should be,” he said.

“We need to get far better at operational security,” Young added. “That is making sure that we’re utilizing our devices and our computers in safe and secure fashions, that we have secure passwords and that we have all the hardware installed that’s need to keep out others.

“In terms of being more outwardly facing and working with companies and individuals, we still have some work to do, and I look forward to working with private industry and others to take whatever measures are necessary.”

When asked if that could include new regulations on businesses, Sen. Young responded that “it may. We need to only regulate with our eyes wide open in a fully informed way. Congress tried to address this working with the administration several years ago, and at the time a decision was made to allow companies to voluntarily report attacks that they had experienced on their systems. We might have to rethink that.”

Shortly before the president’s trip to Europe, Vice President Kamala Harris visited Mexico and Guatemala, where she warned people not to come to the southern U.S. border.

“I’ll cheer her on, but she needs to be tough,” Sen. Young said. “It’s a national security issue, it’s a humanitarian issue, and it’s an economic issue as they compete for Americans’ jobs. We ultimately need to reform our immigration laws, but we need to secure our southern border.”

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