Bush sends letter to all House members urging support for radiation compensation law

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Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) circulated a letter Tuesday to the entirety of the House calling on members to back a vote on a Senate-passed a bill expanding compensation for those exposed to nuclear radiation.

In the letter, first shared with The Hill, Bush called on all 435 members of the House to support the “swift consideration and passage” of the measure, which passed the Senate nearly 2-to-1 in March.

The bill would extend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) for six years and add several states and regions to those eligible for compensation. These include residents of Bush’s district in the St. Louis area, where World War II-era uranium refinement contaminated Coldwater Creek. It would also increase the lump-sum payment amount for those eligible to $100,000. The original 1990 law is set to expire this summer after a two-year extension was signed into law in 2022.

“Now, more than ever, it is crucial for Congress to step up and support approaches to dealing with health crisis that will reduce harm and truly keep our communities safe,” Bush wrote. “World War II is still killing people in many of our districts and they deserve to be made whole.”

The Senate bill, sponsored by Sens. Josh Hawley, (R-Mo.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), passed 69-30.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has yet to announce when or if the bill will be brought to the House floor, although President Biden has signaled he would sign it if it reached his desk. The measure’s Senate sponsors have expressed confidence that it has the votes to pass the House; and in March, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), a member at the other end of the political spectrum from Bush, called on Johnson to include the bill in the budget proposal for fiscal 2024.

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