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Kinzinger Cautiously Optimistic About Byron Nuclear Plant; 'Extremely Angry' With Afghanistan Exit

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U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger held a roundtable discussion with local leaders in Byron as an energy bill that would save the town’s nuclear station advances in Springfield.

The nuclear power plant is scheduled to shutter this month if the state doesn’t intervene.

Kinzinger says he’s still optimistic about a bill getting passed, but he understands the Byron community’s frustration -- especially since lawmakers have had an agreement on nuclear for months.

“We're failing people, we're not solving real problems. The nuclear issue is something that we all agree on, we can solve, but everybody's hanging on to their leverage," he said.

The clean energy bill did pass through the Illinois Senate on Wednesday, but still needs to be approved in the House and by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The Republican serving the 16th District says the issue deserves a federal fix. He says he’s pushing for a nuclear production tax credit in the federal infrastructure plan and for the president to implement the Federal Power and Defense Production Acts to save the plants.

Kinzinger also weighed in on the U.S.’ exit in Afghanistan, calling it “probably some of the worst military decision-making in my lifetime.”

He's an Air Force veteran and member of the Air National Guard who flew missions in Afghanistan. The representative says both the Trump and Biden administrations deserve blame for the chaotic withdrawal.

“The American people deserved far better in an exit in Afghanistan than to have the last vision be us begging the Taliban to protect us and having 13 people killed by ISIS-K," he said. "Donald Trump is responsible for a terrible negotiation of a terrible deal. Joe Biden is responsible for following through on that deal and a terrible exit.”

He applauded veteran-led efforts to get people out of Afghanistan like Operation Recovery.

The Illinois 16th District Congressman emphasized that while geopolitically the exit is a failure, he says U.S. intervention did make a positive impact over the years particularly in regards to Afghan women’s rights.

Those rights were heavily oppressed during the Taliban’s rule and are yet again uncertain after the U.S. withdrawal.

Peter joins WNIJ as a graduate of North Central College. He is a native of Sandwich, Illinois.