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Omnibus spending bill includes funding for U of R Laser Lab

Omnibus spending bill includes funding for U of R Laser Lab

March 22, 2018 09:14 AM

Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced Thursday that the so-called omnibus spending bill -- a must-pass bill that funds the federal government through the end of the fiscal year -- includes $75 million for the University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) and its OMEGA Laser Facility.

The funding is expected to be voted on by the House and Senate later this week. The $75 million is an increase over the $68 million in federal funding allocated to the Laser Lab this year. 

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With this funding, the senators say the U of R will be able to continue its vital research and work in the fields of physics, optics, and material science. The funding will also keep 340 workers on the job in Rochester.

“This funding is an important investment that will help ensure that the Rochester region continues to be at the forefront of scientific progress and the high-tech economy,” Sen. Gillibrand said in a statement.

Sen. Schumer visited the LLE earlier this month, vowing to fight for the $75 million for the lab and a five-year contract with the Department of Energy. The senator called shutting down the Laser Lab "stupid."

"I am urging my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of Congress to vote for this bill and help us secure the $75 million needed for the lab - $7 million more than last year – so that we can keep the University of Rochester at the cutting edge of high-tech innovation and maintain Rochester as a job-creating center of laser innovation," Sen. Schumer said in a statement.

The spending bill is expected to be voted on by the House and Senate later this week.

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