Energy & Water Appropriations Bill Is Third Funding Measure Blocked by Partisan Filibuster
WASHINGTON –-(ENEWSPF)–October 8, 2015. U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today voted for critical funding to enhance shipping on Illinois waterways and to support research laboratories like Argonne National Lab in Lemont and Fermi National Lab in Batavia. The fiscal year (FY) 2016 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act was blocked by 47 senators despite passing the Appropriations Committee 26-4 and is the third funding bill to be filibustered this year.
“This bill to keep our waterways open for business and our research labs at the forefront of innovation was the result of bipartisan cooperation, so there is no excuse for blocking it,” Senator Kirk said. “I will keep fighting to pass this bill so the 5,000 people who work at Argonne and Fermilab can continue their groundbreaking research and so the Great Lakes and the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers can remain central to economic activity in Illinois.”
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Kirk worked to ensure the bill included funding critical to the Illinois economy. Additionally, Senator Kirk’s amendment to cut government waste by requiring federal agencies to reduce printing and reproduction costs by 34 percent was part of the legislation.
Senator Kirk worked to ensure the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund was funded at $1.254 billion, in line with the target authorized in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014, which Senator Kirk supported, enabling essential work on Illinois waterways to increase shipping capabilities through the Great Lakes and down the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. The bill also supports efficient transportation and commerce with $1.5 million for annual dredging of several Illinois harbors and channels, including Waukegan Harbor.
Illinois Research Labs
Senator Kirk also worked to prioritize funding to support groundbreaking research at the National Laboratories in Illinois – Argonne in Lemont and Fermilab in Batavia, which together employ more than 5,000 people. Fermilab is currently developing a groundbreaking international physics research project known as the Long Baseline Neutrino Facility. Argonne is competing with China to develop the world’s fastest computer. The bill funds the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science at a record level of $5.144 billion.
West Chicago Cleanup
The bill also includes $33 million for the DOE Title X Uranium and Thorium Reimbursement Program, which supports cleanup efforts at 13 former atomic sites across the country, including the old Kerr-McGee Factory in West Chicago, Illinois.