Today U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) filed an amendment to reauthorize and expand the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) to the foreign aid package currently being debated in the Senate. Senator Hawley's amendment—which passed the Senate last year with overwhelming bipartisan support—has been updated to include compensation for communities devastated by decades-old nuclear waste in Alaska, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
Senator Hawley joined advocates from across America for their visit during today's key votes in the upper chamber, urging congressional leadership not to overlook Americans poisoned by their own government in favor of funding to foreign nations.
"My message is to my leadership—and certainly to Senator McConnell—is don't let Americans die. [...] Hundreds of thousands of people, who depend on this program for lifesaving help, will be left literally to die if this program expires. And the people around me that you see will get no help unless we do something," said Senator Hawley.
"Since I offered the [RECA amendment] last time, we've included communities now in Tennessee and Kentucky and Alaska, who've all been exposed to radiation. [...] More advocates came to us and said, 'hey what about us?' [...] So, I am not going to sit back and watch [RECA] expire. We've got to get it reauthorized. We've got to get it updated," Senator Hawley concluded.
The RECA program—which is set to expire in a matter of months—compensates victims of nuclear radiation from the Manhattan Project.
Following its passage in the Senate in July, RECA reauthorization was stripped from the NDAA by congressional leadership. Senator Hawley has committed to doing whatever it takes to reauthorize this vital legislation and bring justice to victims of government-caused nuclear radiation.