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Sequester delays Thomson Prison opening

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When the Federal Bureau of Prisons bought Thomson Correctional Center just four months ago, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin sang a promising tune.

Soon after the purchase in October, Durbin quipped, "Thomson, Illinois, is going to be the hub of economic activity. Everybody’s going to want to move to Thomson, right?”

Many Thomson residents had visions of an open prison and thousands of new jobs. Now, though, it appears the prison will sit empty for at least another year.

"It’s not gonna happen this year. Because of these budgetary problems, things have been slowed down considerably. We’ve got to hope this is in the President’s budget for the next fiscal year starting in October," said Durbin on Thursday.

The delay is yet another effect of sequestration, which Durbin says will have very real effects on area airports, day cares, and the Rock Island Arsenal.

"The men and women there have proven their value to this country over generations. The notion that we are going to shortchange them at this time is just unfair," said Durbin.

One of the only things Republicans and Democrats seem to be agreeing upon is that the sequester will happen on Friday.

“The sequestration will go forward tomorrow," said Democratic Senator Durbin.

“I think sequestration is going to start, and I think, finally, this brings people to the table, even though they had 18 months for the President to do the same thing he’s doing tomorrow, and maybe stop this and reach some sort of agreement," added Republican Senator Chuck Grassley.

President Obama is scheduled to meet with Congressional leaders at the White House Friday in a last-ditch effort to avoid sequestration.