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Thune joined us for a fireside chat on the future of spectrum authority, the fate of the filibuster and border legislation.

John Thune on spectrum authority, filibuster and 5G

Senate Minority Whip John Thune on Wednesday joined us for a fireside chat on the future of spectrum authority, the fate of the filibuster and border legislation.

Afterward, NFL legend Tom Brady — yes, that Tom Brady — and Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg took the stage to discuss how 5G is changing the world of football.

Here are our top takeaways:

Thune said Senate Republicans are committed to protecting the filibuster.

Thune is running to succeed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. A major flashpoint on the horizon in the conference is what to do about the filibuster, given that former President Donald Trump has long pushed senators to scrap the practice.

Thune, however, delivered a firm defense of the filibuster and described it as “the essence of the Senate.”

The South Dakota Republican said he’s eager to work with Trump if he returns to the White House.

“But we’re gonna have to do it the old fashioned way and put together, cobble together the types of majorities that enable us to get to the 60-vote threshold on most consequential legislation,” Thune cautioned.

Thune warned that the United States risks falling behind China on spectrum.

Top lawmakers like Thune have expressed consternation that the FCC’s spectrum auction authority has lapsed. For Thune, this presents a national security challenge.

“China continues to open up more and more of that mid-band spectrum. And if we aren’t keeping up with them, we’re gonna lose the competition,” Thune said.

Thune touted his bill with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to expand access to mid-band spectrum.

Thune said the vote on border security this week is “political theater.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is forcing a vote this week on the bipartisan border compromise negotiated by Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). The effort failed earlier this year after Trump spoke out against the bill.

Thune dismissed Schumer’s move.

“I think they’re trying to give some of their incumbents in particular some political cover on an issue that’s incredibly important,” Thune said.

Afterward, Brady and Vestberg took the stage.

Vestberg said fans are constantly online at NFL games.

Verizon produced a report on phone usage at NFL games and found that the modern fan expects to be on their device at the same time as they’re watching the action.

“The other thing we learned was that you have 99% more usage of the wireless network before halftime compared to the second half,” Vestberg said.

Brady hailed the adoption of new technology as his NFL career progressed.

Brady recounted how he prepared for his last Super Bowl victory with his offensive team through a video call film session the night before the game.

“Once you become established with it, you get really used to having such enabled connectivity. You don’t ever go backward, right?” Brady said.

— Max Cohen

Presented by Verizon

The increase in mobile usage doesn’t mean home internet usage is down. In fact, it’s the opposite. Verizon 5g/LTE Home Internet subscribers grew by 111% year-over-year. Check out the Consumer Connections Report to learn more.

Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.