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Hawley Stresses Importance of Radiation Compensation Amendment for NDAA Success

Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri is calling on Congress to include a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would expand eligibility for victims of radiation testing in the United States. Hawley stated that he will block any NDAA that does not include this provision.

He is urging for the inclusion of those exposed to radiation downwind from the Trinity test in Los Alamos, New Mexico, as well as those affected by waste in Coldwater Creek in St. Louis. Hawley, along with Senators Eric Schmitt, Ben Ray Lujan, and Mike Crapo, sponsored an amendment that passed the Senate with a filibuster-proof majority earlier this year.

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Hawley reaffirmed his stance on Twitter last week and hosted activists from Missouri who have been affected by radiation exposure at the U.S. Capitol. He emphasized that he will not vote for a defense bill that neglects the compensation owed to individuals across the country.

The amendment proposed by Hawley and his colleagues was not included in the House’s version of the NDAA. The two chambers will need to work together to create a final version of the bill through a conference committee, which is expected to take place in December.

Activists from New Mexico, Missouri, Idaho, Colorado, Montana, and Guam have been advocating for the expansion of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) to include their communities.

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The current law, passed in 1990, only covers residents of Utah, Nevada, and Arizona at the time of nuclear testing. The law provides eligible individuals with payments of $50,000 and has paid out approximately $2.5 billion to over 40,000 people since its enactment.

The Hill contacted the offices of Senators Schmitt, Lujan, and Crapo for clarification on their stance regarding the NDAA and Hawley’s efforts, but no response has been received thus far.

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