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Local

Congressman Adam Kinzinger said he'll support Postal Service, but not $25 billion of funding

Democratic opponent Dani Brzozowski said without his vote, his comments are 'patronizing'

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger said Tuesday he'd vote to support the postal service.

His political opponent in November, Dani Brzozowski, said he already missed out on one opportunity to do so.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling back Kinzinger and their colleagues into session over the issues at the Postal Service. A vote is expected Saturday on legislation that would prohibit changes at the agency and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is expected to testify in front of Congress.

DeJoy, a former supply-chain CEO who took over the Postal Service in June, has sparked criticism over delays, new prices and cutbacks as millions of Americans will be trying to vote by mail during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Postal Service said it has stopped removing mailboxes and mail-sorting machines amid an outcry from lawmakers.

Kinzinger, R-Channahon, said on the Fox 32 program "Good Day Chicago" he believes the postal service needs to be funded to "a necessary level to get postal work done," but he stopped short of supporting the $25 billion proposed by Pelosi.

The congressman voted once against $25 billion of emergency funding to the Postal Service.

"She's just throwing that number out there," Kinzinger said on the TV news program.

Brzozowski, a La Salle Democrat, said she believes Kinzinger's recent message about the Postal Service is patronizing and hypocritical. She said his actions not to vote in favor of the emergency funding was out of touch with his "rural district."

Brzozowski said Kinzinger was allowing President Donald Trump to suppress voting by mail.

She pointed out comments Trump said last week that he was blocking emergency aid to the Postal Service, as well as a Democratic proposal to provide $3.6 billion in additional election money to the states to help process an expected surge of mail-in ballots.

Kinzinger didn't speak to whether he believed the Postal Service's issues were intentional, instead saying they have been flooded with activity since the COVID-19 pandemic started and they have been affected by the virus itself.

He said he had concerns about mail-in voting.

"It's very different than absentee ballots," Kinzinger said. "We need to look what's happening in New York right now. It's a mess. There's a lot of concerns with it."

One issue is prepaid return envelopes that made it difficult for the Postal Service to process some of them correctly and, as a result, an unknown number of votes — perhaps thousands — may have been wrongfully disqualified because of a lack of a postmark, according to the New York Times.

Brzozowski said she visited with the La Salle County Clerk's Office and was assured voting by mail is safe. She said there is no evidence to support there is fraud in this process. She said a panel of bipartisan election judges examine ballots.

"I have more of a chance of being struck by lightning than for there to be voter fraud through vote by mail," Brzozowski said.

She said the argument against voting by mail is being used to suppress voting.

With an anticipation of 400% more ballots being cast by mail because of the pandemic, she said emergency funding will be more important to ensure the Postal Service can handle the increased load.

Kinzinger tweeted Monday: "The @USPS is a public service for the American people & has been since our Founding. For years, the Postal Service has faced delivery problems, but these mail delays are especially concerning for our seniors & rural communities in #IL16. The issue needs to be resolved swiftly."

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