Tysons, VA

Moments of cross-aisle praise are rare, but there was one in Tysons today (Friday).

Amid criticism of the state of national politics, in a speech at Fleming’s Steakhouse (1960 Chain Bridge Road), Sen. Mark Warner (D) took a moment to praise President Donald Trump for retaining funding for the Metro in his federal budget proposal.

“I was not pleased with President’s budget on a variety of items, but I was pleased — even though discretionary spending was cut — that it included $150 million for the Metro,” Warner said. “It’s very important that we retain that.”

Warner was in Tysons for the spring chairman’s luncheon with the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce to oversee the installation of the new board for the organization.

In some remarks after the installation, Warner spoke on a range of topics, from Facebook to the potential decline and fall of American capitalism.

Warner said regulation has been slow to keep up with companies like Facebook and Google, saying that in the face of the Russian interference through social media in the American elections it was time to take a look at more regulation.

“Today, 60 percent of Americans get all their news from Facebook and Google,” said Warner. “I wonder whether we need to start thinking about these platform companies as media. The content that comes to us across these platforms can be used to spread an enormous amount of lies. Facebook and Google have as much power as Standard Oil did at the beginning of the [20th century].”

Warner also noted that the way the military funded will have to evolve to face 21st century threats. Warner, the ranking member of the Committee on Intelligence, said that China and Russia spend less on their militaries than the United States but are investing more heavily in hacking.

“I worry we’re buying too much 20th century stuff when most of the conflict in the 21st century will be in cybersecurity, disinformation, and space,” said Warner. “Our peers are equal in those domains.”

More broadly, Warner reiterated earlier comments that American capitalism would have to evolve or face extinction.

“I don’t think modern American capitalism is working for our people,” Warner said. “It doesn’t mean you throw out the system, but it means we have to have an honest debate over what the economy that works for everyone looks like… If we don’t find an economy that gives people a fair shot, we’re going to end up with unease and people who will give up on the system.”

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