Researchers from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, Lurie Children's Hospital, University of Chicago and University of Illinois at Chicago joined Durbin in calling for a compromise that preserves funding for research.
"For basic research, the sequester is a move in the wrong direction," said Jay Walsh, vice president of research at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, who urged the president and Congress to more strategically deal with the budget deficit.
Durbin said there was "no doubt in my mind that some of the cuts to medical research will have a direct impact on lives and the quality of life. We're talking about cancer research. We're talking about treating diabetes. These are deadly diseases."
Illinois residents won't wake up Monday and notice much change because of the spending cuts — known as sequestration — Durbin acknowledged, but he said aviation spending cuts to be announced soon may force "some downstate airports" to close.
Durbin's staff later clarified that it's not known whether any airports will close immediately.
"We will know more when the FAA releases additional details next week," said Durbin spokeswoman Christina Angarola in an email. "What we do know is that several air traffic control towers and other air traffic control facilities will close and downstate airport directors have told Sen. Durbin's staff that safety will be impacted as a result."
Air traffic control towers could close at Illinois airports in Alton, Sugar Grove, Bloomington-Normal, Decatur, West Chicago, Murphysboro, Marion, Springfield and Waukegan, according to a list provided by Durbin's office.