Durbin Says House Cuts to Labs Would be Devastating; Vows to Continue Funding for Innovative Research in Illinois

Republican cuts mean loss of over 1,000 jobs at Argonne and 450 at Fermi

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today sent letters to Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Energy & Water Appropriations Subcommittee, of which he is a member, warning that the funding cuts proposed by the House Republicans in their continuing resolution (H.R. 1) would have a devastating impact on our entire national laboratory system. Durbin vowed to work with the committee to ensure that labs – including Fermilab and Argonne National Laboratory which stand to lose a combined 1,450 jobs under the Republican plan – can continue to do world-class research at their facilities.


“The House Republican’s Continuing Resolution will cost Illinois 1,450 research scientists and support staff at our nationally recognized research labs” said Durbin. “The net effect is to put our research efforts on hold for seven months. This mindless cut is a clear signal that the House bill is not the product of a thoughtful effort. America must cut spending but it cannot abandon its leadership in research and innovation.”


H.R. 1, if enacted, would cut 1.1 billion from the FY11 budget request of $5.121 billion for the Office of Science, $899 million from the $2.355 billion EERE budget, and $250 million from the $300 million ARPA-E budget. According to lab directors, this would cause many of the national labs to completely shut down for three months, if not longer.


In his letter, Durbin pointed to the negative impact the cuts would have on the communities that surround Fermilab and Argonne: “Significant cuts to the Labs will be devastating to the local communities surrounding the labs in Batavia and DuPage County. Suppliers and contractors for the labs, as well as the private companies that use the facilities also would be adversely affected by the closures and layoffs.”