U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján
From the Office of U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) submitted four amendments today to the House Rules Committee to expand compensation for those impacted by exposure to radiation while working in uranium mines or living downwind from atomic weapons tests.
Luján’s amendments included the full Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments (RECA), which he introduced last year, and provisions of that bill to expand RECA’s downwind exposure area and to qualify post 1971 uranium workers for compensation. The fourth amendment expressed the sense of Congress that the United States should compensate and recognize all of the miners, workers, downwinders, and others suffering from the effects of uranium mining and nuclear testing carried out during the Cold War.
“Our country’s obligation to those who helped usher in the atomic age did not end with the initial passage of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. We must do more to ensure that all those who have been impacted by radiation exposure are fairly compensated,” Luján said. “I have repeatedly introduced the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments because I am committed to ensuring that my colleagues meet their responsibility to compensate all those who played a key role in our national security during the Cold War and who have suffered as a result of their efforts.”
Luján has introduced similar RECA legislation during past sessions of Congress. Last year, the sense of Congress authored by Luján was unanimously approved by the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, the Republican-controlled Rules Committee blocked House floor consideration of these amendments.
Nearly 30 years ago, Congress passed RECA to provide compensation for atomic veterans and a limited number of others who contracted cancer as a direct result of their exposure to atmospheric nuclear testing. In 2000, Congress broadened the scope of the law to include additional individuals affected by radiation exposure. Since then, lawmakers have learned that many additional individuals who are sick or dying from radiation exposure are still unable to receive the compensation they deserve.