Illinois

Rep. Adam Kinzinger conducted a conference call with media in his Congressional district June 2.

One of the area issues, he said, is the nuclear bill.

“I’ve been tracking a little bit what’s been going on in Springfield with regard to the nuclear bill,” he said. “As you all know it’s very important for the district. In the process, I have introduced the “preserving existing nuclear energy generation act”. The bottom line of this is it would help save the plants on the chopping block, which would include Byron and Dresden, by providing financial credits through an emissions avoidance program. It’s understanding and recognizing in essence putting a value on the fact that nuclear is very good for climate change zero, carbon output, etc, which is something that not recognized yet, but it would also, if you do have a closure, it would help soften the blow to local communities by giving some money in essence to help promote economic development, preserve services. We are hoping we have a shot with that. We’ve been working day and night on trying to do what we can from the federal level.

“The one thing I’m really excited about is the introduction of the Made in America Act. What we realized when COVID hit was the vulnerability of our supply chains,” he said. “We saw that particularly at the very beginning of COVID when a China minister said ‘the US will drown in a sea of coronavirus if they accuse us of this virus’. We noticed that China had begun, even prior to us knowing this was a thing, to hoard personal protective equipment. We also know that they threatened to cut it off at the moment we basically came out and said we suspect, for instance, a leak in the lab.

“What that really did was it opened our eyes to the vulnerability of the supply chain. We can see that even in things unrelated, like the Colonial pipeline or this recent meat issue when it comes to hacks.

“I introduced this bill with Rep. Jason Crow, a Democrat, and somebody I have a good working relationship with, even though we don’t see eye to eye on a ton of issues. What this bill would do is create in essence like a National Security Council, so it would be a manufacturing resilience council, to analyze and find areas where either a supply chain is completely concentrated and there’s no backups to that, there’s no addition, or it would find areas where we have critical supply issues, whether it’s dealing with making penicillin, PPE, or things like that. Once it identifies that, it would implement an incentive-based structure.

“So, if a company relocates to the United States. Keep in mind, the priority here is to get these companies in to the United States borders to employ American people, this would cover 100 percent of their expensing to relocate and after that 30 percent of a production tax credit, so it’s working within the construct of the free market but recognizing that we are competing against a country that frankly does not respect the free market, so we’re doing it within the best way we can. But we have the second part that says, look, we recognize that some industries are not going to come to the United States, so what’s the next best thing. We call that near shoring. So that would be, in this case, if it goes some place in Latin America, for example, that is in desperate need of economic development. We see the results of that on the southern border. It would then give a 60 percent relocation credit and a 15 percent production credit.

“Our hopes with the legislation, A — we hope it gets through the House and the Senate and gets signed by the president, but our hope in this is we can begin to grapple with the really huge issue of where are our supply chain vulnerabilities.

“It’s not as easy as saying we need to protect, for instance, penicillin, when it comes to different kinds of medicine. There’s been no penicillin, at least as of six months ago, produced in the United States since 2004. But on drugs, there’s a signifiant amount of ingredients all of which have vulnerabilities. So this is a really broad thing. We think this is going to be successful to at least begin to address those real serious issues. This would be beneficial to the district and the state and must as important to the country.”

Kinzinger said also that the Country First movement is important to him and to the district. “While democracy is resilient, but without standing up and openly defending it it’s not out of the question to think it could be a threat. I think one of the first things we need to do is recognize that. We need to tell the truth. Truth and lies cannot co-exist.”

He said, too, it is important to restore conversation. “You have a choice, chicken or beef, Republican or Democrat. You either vote Republican or you vote Democrat. If you go out to dinner you have a preference of chicken or beef but you might not like either of them. What we’ve recognized is that a lot of people just feel left out. They feel unrepresented. We want to restore that conversation. That’s a long process. It’s taken us a long time to get here. We’ve seen tremendous success with the Country First movement, but it’s not something I can do alone. It’s only something if the American people decide they want to be a part of restoring conversation and restoring politics to something that actually makes sense and is not a threat, we can do that.”

Politics, he said, is taking real conflicts and going into conflicting arguments and making decisions. “But behind the scenes we got along,” he said. That has changed in the past few months, he said.

When asked about the challenges the Illinois GOP faces in the coming elections, he said. “It’s a ginormous problem. When you are a Democrat in Illinois you kind of have the leverage and the luxury to have these debates within the Democratic party because you have the super-majority. You’re obviously a big governing coalition.

“When you are a Republican, you need to have a big pen. We need Republicans that are pro-choice. We need Republicans that don’t stand where I do on the Second Amendment, but buy into this basic idea that less government is better opportunity. There’s very few things that I’m not somewhat conservative on. I would consider myself moderate too conservative. Yet there are many in the state GOP trying to push me out. I’m not really in the state structure, but you look at that and say if somebody like me doesn’t belong to the GOP for telling the truth about what happened, there is zero point zero percent chance that we can ever do anything positive in Illinois or ever take power. It’s a massive challenge. It’s important for leaders to speak out and not worry about the near-term consequences but look at the long-term play.”

He said he will continue to speak out when he feels he should. “To feign unity is depriving people otherwise,” he said.

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