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The Associated Press February 28, 2011, 10:58AM ET

Durbin: Cuts to NIH put research jobs at risk

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says proposed cuts to the National Institute of Health's budget puts thousands of medical research jobs at risk.

Durbin expressed his concerns Sunday at Northwestern University's cancer care center in Chicago.

He says the federal spending bill approved by the House over the weekend included a $1.6 billion cut to the NIH. The bill is now headed to the Senate.

Durbin says Illinois got $884 million in NIH funding last year, creating or supporting nearly 12,000 jobs.

He says the cuts could cause existing research projects and clinical trials to be suspended or postponed. And he says new projects likely wouldn't be funded.

Durbin is predicting a "ripple effect" on the biotech industry if the cuts are approved.

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