Quick Hit Micah Maidenberg Tuesday March 1st, 2011, 11:00am

Durbin Dramatizes House GOP Cuts At Argonne

We'll be running through more of the numbers about how the House Republicans' cuts-and-more-cuts approach to the federal budget would hit Illinois specifically a bit later today, but here's one for starters: 1,450. That's the number of researchers and support staff who would lose their jobs at the Argonne and Fermilab national laboratories, located near Darien and Batavia, respectively, should the GOP get their way. Illinois' Democratic U.S. Senator Dick Durbin toured Argonne yesterday to dramatize the reductions, telling reporters the House GOP plan "will kill jobs, kill research and kill the competitive edge that America needs to succeed in the 21st century."

Durbin has been sounding the alarm about the House GOP budget bill, and its impact on the economy in northeastern Illinois, for the last couple of weeks. In a letter he sent the ranking members of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, Durbin wrote that "[s]ignificant 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."

The budget battle in Washington is fluid, and there's talk that a short-term deal is in the works to continue federal government operations for two weeks after $4 billion in cuts to the current-year budget are made. Stay tuned.

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