Advocates push for radiation poisoning compensation

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – House and Senate lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are joining forces to try and ensure more victims of radiation poisoning get compensated.

At a Thursday press conference, they called on Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-La.) to bring legislation to the floor expanding coverage, before funding expires June 2nd.

Victims from across the country joined lawmakers.

Karen Nichols, who leads the St Louis, Missouri “Just Moms” organization, says she and other victims met with Johnson’s staff Thursday at the Capitol and are hopeful the conversation moves the needle.

For decades, St. Louis and other communities have been left out of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act funding, even though they were exposed to radiation tied to the federal government’s program to create the atomic bomb.

“It’s in our water, it’s in our land, it’s been in our air,” said Nichols.

Nichols and Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) argue the federal government should be helping those suffering with medical expense.

“I have lupus, I have psoriatic arthritis, I have fibromyalgia” says Nichols.

Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) ensured legislation expanding coverage to more victims in Missouri, New Mexico, Guam, Kentucky and more passed the Senate in December.

Bush and other House lawmakers insist if Speaker Johnson allows a vote, there is enough bipartisan support for the bill to clear the House.

Republicans opposed to the expansion argue the bill’s $147 billion price tag is too high.

Speaker Johnson has not indicated whether he will pass RECA reauthorization before funding expires.

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