Senate approves RECA extension but will the House?

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The U.S. Senate last week voted in favor of expanding coverage included under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) in a 69-30 vote after the expanded RECA amendment was first passed under and then stripped from the National Defense Authorization Act last summer by a conference committee of senators and representatives. The RECA expansion act was then re-offered independently by its original sponsor, Jeff Hawley (R-MO), who championed the inclusion of those harmed by the radioactive waste from the Manhattan Project dumped in the St. Louis area by Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, which refined uranium for US atomic bombs. The Act also extended coverage to the previously excluded victims of the first ever atomic test, Trinity in New Mexico, the subject of the multi-award winning film, Oppenheimer. It was co-sponsored with Hawley by Missouri Republican, Senator Eric Schmitt, and Democratic senator, Ben Ray Luján from New Mexico.

However, it is not clear whether RECA will even be offered in the House, let alone pass there. RECA is due to sunset in less than three months if the House does not take it up and pass the expansion.

To learn more about the battle for RECA expansion and extension, tune in tonight to the Massachusetts Peace Action Webinar, Oppenheimer: Sins of Omission, where one of the featured speakers will be longtime campaigner for the rights of Trinity downwinders, Tina Cordova. The program also includes Leona Morgan, Diné of Haul No! and Talavi Denipah Cook of Tewa Women United and will be facilitated by Roberto Roibal.

Register here.

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