April 30, 2024

Gallego Backs Bipartisan, Bicameral Push for Speaker Johnson to Hold Vote on Senate-Passed RECA Legislation

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-03) signed a bipartisan, bicameral letter urging House Speaker Mike Johnson to immediately act to pass the Radiation Exposure Compensation Reauthorization Act (RECA). This legislation would reauthorize and strengthen the RECA program which was approved by the Senate with strong bipartisan support in March. This legislation is critical for communities and individuals who have suffered from the consequences of the United States' nuclear testing program.

“Between 1945 and 1992, the U.S. conducted 206 above-ground nuclear weapons tests, dispersing radioactive material across vast swathes of the nation. The landmark film Oppenheimer has brought renewed attention to these events, particularly highlighting the first nuclear explosion in New Mexico in 1945. The ‘downwinders,’ along with those involved in uranium mining, milling, and transportation, are still enduring the health impacts from their exposure to this radiation,” wrote the lawmakers.

Led by Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), the letter was also signed by Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ron Wyden (D-OR.), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), James Risch (R-ID), Eric Schmitt (R-MO), Patty Murray (D-WA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA),JD Vance (R-OH), and Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM),James Moylan (R-Guam), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ.), Brittany Pettersen (D-CO),Melanie Stansbury (D-NM), Greg Stanton (D-AZ), Dina Titus (D-NV), Gabe Vasquez(D-NM), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Val Hoyle (D-CA), and Joe Neguse (D-CO).

“We urge action immediately to strengthen the RECA program before its impending sunset in June 2024. The United States government exposed these Americans to radiation as part of our national security efforts through World War II and the Cold War. It is long past time that RECA is strengthened to give these Americans their recognition and compensation. Their livelihoods, often devastated by the long-term consequences of radiation exposure, depend on your leadership and commitment to rectifying past injustices. Let us honor the commitment we made to these citizens by ensuring they receive the support and recognition they so rightly deserve,” the lawmakers continued.

The full text of the letter is available HERE.