Durbin - Alexander Amendment to Bipartisan Energy Bill Promotes Increased Funding for Scientific Research

$2.7 billion in additional funding will support groundbreaking research at Argonne National Laboratory & Fermilab along with more than 300 colleges and universities across the country

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today announced that their amendment to the Energy Policy Modernization Act was approved by the Senate.  The amendment would approve over $31 billion of funding - $2.7 billion more than what was included in the original legislation – for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science by increasing its budget at a rate of 5% annual real growth (above inflation) each year for five years.  Today’s amendment is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Patty Murray (D-WA).


“America’s leadership in cutting-edge research is at risk if we do not invest in basic science research,” said Durbin.  “The numbers raise concerns. Current researchers are getting older. Young researchers are discouraged because our support has not been reliable.  We can’t expect continued advances in science if we don’t support research in science.  Congress needs to help America’s brightest scientific minds do what they do best.  Our amendment will strengthen this bipartisan energy bill and help us move towards a 21st century economy.”


“An important part of a Republican pro-growth policy is support for government sponsored research. That's how we got 3-D mapping and horizontal drilling that led to unconventional gas and oil. That's how we're going to get the cost of carbon capture low enough to make it commercial. We can reduce wasteful spending on subsidies for mature energy technology and double energy research, and this would do that on a conservative path,” Alexander said.


The Office of Science supports over 24,000 scientists, ten national laboratories (including Illinois’ Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab), and research at more than 300 colleges and universities in all 50 states as well as private companies in partnership with other federal science agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. 


Durbin spoke about the need for more robust support for basic science research on the Senate floor.  Footage from his speech is available on his YouTube page or at the following links:


Footage of Durbin’s remarks is available for TV Stations using FTP in high definition here and in standard definition here.