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Crapo, Luján Call for House to Hold Vote on Downwinders Legislation

Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) joined a bipartisan, bicameral letter led by Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-New Mexico) urging House Speaker Mike Johnson to immediately act to pass the Radiation Exposure Compensation Reauthorization Act (RECA).  In March, the Senate passed the legislation, which would reauthorize and strengthen the RECA program.  Signing RECA into law 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 lawmakers wrote.  “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.”

“We urge action immediately to strengthen the RECA program before its impending sunset in June 2024,” the lawmakers continued.  “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.”

Senators Crapo and Luján are joined in signing the letter by Senators Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico), John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado), Mark Kelly (D-Arizona), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Eric Schmitt (R-Missouri), Patty Murray (D-Washington), Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), JD Vance (R-Ohio), and U.S. Representatives Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee), Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona), Teresa Leger Fernández (D-New Mexico), James Moylan (R-Guam), Raúl Grijalva (D-Arizona), Brittany Pettersen (D-Colorado), Melanie Stansbury (D-New Mexico), Greg Stanton (D-Arizona), Dina Titus (D-Nevada), Gabe Vasquez (D-New Mexico), Ann Wagner (R-Missouri), Val Hoyle (D-Califonaia) and Joe Neguse (D-Colorado).

The full text of the letter is available HERE.