Durbin Joins Legislation To Restore And Modernize National Labs For The 21st Century

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) to introduce the Restore and Modernize Our National Labs Act, a bill that would invest $30 billion in deferred maintenance projects and infrastructure improvements at America’s National Labs. Argonne and Fermi National Laboratories, based in DuPage County and Kane County respectively, would stand to benefit from this legislation. As leaders in the artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, high energy physics, and batteries, the labs’ researchers and scientists rely on federal funding to secure more than just high-tech lab equipment. The Restore and Modernize Our National Labs Act would provide significant federal funding to labs like Argonne and Fermilab to upgrade power grids, expand lab space, and reinforce basic lab infrastructure to provide a safe, modern place to conduct research.

The Department of Energy’s National Laboratories are experiencing a maintenance backlog from decades of underfunding that puts the labs’ mission at risk. Significant new federal investments are needed to repair and update laboratories, administrative buildings, and critical infrastructure like roads and power plants. Making these improvements will keep the labs’ more than 40,000 employees safe and secure, and ensure that these research facilities are equipped to fulfill their mission.

“National Labs, like Illinois’ own Argonne and Fermi National Laboratories, have pushed the boundaries of scientific discovery with unmatched dedication to their research missions,” said Durbin. “But if we want to continue to be a global leader in innovation and scientific discovery, we must properly fund our labs and build the critical infrastructure needed to meet the demands of the 21st century. With the Restore and Modernize Our National Labs Act, we can offer our scientists at the world-class labs, like those at Argonne and Fermi, the support they need.”

The bill is also cosponsored by U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA).