Don’t Let RECA Expire! June 3, 2024

Map of the contiguous U.S. showing radiation spread from the Trinity test in New Mexico and tests in Nevada

RECA comes down to the wire with brinkmanship in the House of Representatives

Call House Speaker Mike Johnson at 202-225-4000 and urge passage before it’s too late

Vote expected on the House Floor June 3, 4 or 5

This year tremendous momentum has built up behind legislation to finally bring justice to radiation victims who have been denied compensation for decades.

On March 7, the Senate passed S. 3853 from Senators Hawley (R-MO) and Lujan (D-NM) legislation to expand and extend RECA (Radiation Exposure Compensation Act) backed by PSR and allied organizations, downwinders, atomic veterans, and uranium miners.

The Senate showed strong bipartisan support with a lopsided, 69 to 30 vote.

To finally expand RECA, the House of Representatives must pass S. 3853, but Speaker Mike Johnson has been stonewalling. Wednesday, June 5, will be the final day that the House of Representatives is in session before the existing RECA Act from 1990 sunsets. If Congress fails to act, RECA will expire.

Last week Speaker Johnson announced a vote on a simple RECA 2-year extension bill (H.R. 8097 from Rep. Celeste Maloy, R-Utah) and then thought better of it, reversed himself and withdrew that from the schedule. We don’t know that whole story, but it appears RECA supporter Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner (R-2nd district) may have done the convincing there.

PSR and the entire RECA Working Group OPPOSES a simple extension, and favors instead the Lujan / Hawley bill, S. 3853. Senator Hawley was on a RECA Working Group Zoom last Wednesday and expressed confidence that some sort of House floor vote on RECA is very likely on June 3, 4, or 5 (and Hawley is hoping it is S. 3853, which he has been championing). The House is on recess June 6 & 7, and RECA expires on the 7th.

Once we have heard WHEN the vote will happen and WHAT the legislation is that will be voted upon, PSR/National plans to send an alert to the NWA e-activist list. If you have contacts in Congressional offices, please plan to CALL THEM to ensure their bosses vote correctly. 

Some additional material here: 

PSR Monitor article for background
“RECA advocates converge on Capitol Hill”

American Public Health Association letter supporting S. 3853  (thanks to Bob Gould and Brian Campbell for making this happen)

Interfaith letter supporting S. 3853 (organized by FCNL)

Western Governors Conference letter supporting S. 3853

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops letter supporting S. 3853

The Victims of U.S. Nuclear Testing Deserve More Than This
W.J. Hennigan in the New York Times
[ this link should get you past the NYT paywall ]

Nukewatch New Mexico pie chart  “Estimated costs US nuclear weapons 1942-2033 vs. RECA”

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