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Sen. Marsha Blackburn. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn called on her fellow lawmakers to refuse meetings with representatives from Chinese companies, including video sharing app TikTok and telecom company Huawei, in a letter Thursday.

Why it matters: Companies with ties to China have been the target of ire and suspicion from lawmakers from both parties concerned about privacy and security.

Driving the news: Blackburn told colleagues that denying access to Senate offices sends a "warning shot" to Beijing in the misinformation war over the origins of the coronavirus.

  • Banning meetings with Huawei, TikTok, telecom company ZTE, and drone-maker DJI "is a long overdue sanction," she wrote, pointing to bans on government agencies using Huawei and ZTE equipment, and rules against some federal employees using TikTok on government devices.
  • "Their company representatives likewise cannot be trusted to lobby members of Congress with the best of U.S. intentions in mind," Blackburn wrote.

What they're saying:

  • "Contrary to Senator Blackburn’s misinformation, DJI’s American employees welcome every opportunity to discuss issues related to drone technology with our elected officials, helping them to better understand the technology that American first responders rely upon to save lives," DJI said.
  • "TikTok US is led and run by a team of experienced and empowered industry veterans in LA, Silicon Valley, New York, Austin and other cities throughout the country," a spokesperson for the company said. "We believe that open dialogue is the best way for people to learn about our values and policies. We will continue to engage with policymakers who are interested in learning what TikTok stands for."

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Aug 21, 2020 - Economy & Business

Setting the odds on a TikTok deal

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The TikTok shot clock is down to just 25 days, by which time it either has a deal for its U.S. business or has a presidential shutdown notice pinned to its back.

The state of play: Everyone is taking this timeline very seriously. It's possible that President Trump would give an extension, or find another rhetorical wriggle to save millennial face, but those close to the situation say it's a risk they have no intention of taking.

Updated 10 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Political consultants pocket taxpayer cash

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Members of Congress are turning to the same political consultants who got them elected to blast out taxpayer-funded communications from their government offices, records show.

Why it matters: While those members are barred from politicking with official funds, the firms have expertise in boosting elected officials' images for political gain and are in high demand for both campaign and government work.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Transplants rebound from COVID lull
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America
  3. Politics: Government website for free COVID tests launches early
  4. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older
  5. Variant tracker