Senate Passes Bill To Extend, Expand Compensation For Radiation Victims

"The Senate passed a stand-alone bill to extend and expand a 30-year-old law compensating Americans exposed to radiation by the federal government in a 69-30 vote.

The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), first enacted in 1990, compensates Americans exposed to radiation by World War II-era nuclear testing and Cold War-era uranium mining. However, it is set to expire in June and does not cover several categories of people exposed to radiation, including those downwind of the 1945 Trinity atomic bomb test and uranium miners exposed to radiation after 1971. It also does not cover Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-Mo.) constituents in the St. Louis area who were exposed to contaminated water from uranium production at Mallinckrodt Chemical Works.

An amendment expanding and extending RECA, sponsored by Sens. Hawley, Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) passed the Senate with 61 votes last year as part of the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). However, the amendment was stripped from the final version. Hawley has vocally blamed outgoing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for the removal of the amendment."

Zack Budryk reports for The Hill March 7, 2024.

Source: The Hill, 03/08/2024