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Tags: reca | expansion | advocates | mike johnson

Speaker Johnson Faces Heat Over Radiation Benefits

By    |   Thursday, 20 June 2024 06:42 PM EDT

Proponents for the expansion of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act are frustrated with Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., who they say is stalling on the Senate-passed bill that would expand the base of Americans exposed to radiation to be eligible for federal benefits, The Hill reported Thursday.

One senator who represents a good chunk of Americans who would be included for the first time isn't happy with Johnson either, according to the report.

Advocates for the expansion of RECA had a meeting with staffers in Johnson's office this week but felt like they were getting played to accept a repeat of RECA, vis-à-vis the slimmer version, according to The Hill.

"It felt like their hope was that you all would want an extension at some point and that would be their out," one advocate told The Hill.

At issue is that the Senate in March overwhelmingly passed an expansion to RECA that would include more Americans for eligibility, increase the payment amount, and lock in RECA for six years instead of two. However, that version of RECA costs more, to the tune of $50 billion to $60 billion more in new spending without offsets, The Hill reported.

Current RECA benefits expired on June 10. House leadership scheduled a vote on a slimmed-down version of RECA four days before the sunset of current benefits. However, the vote was pulled back without explanation.

"I don't think [Johnson] had the votes," Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., told The Hill then. "He wanted to do it on suspension, that needs two-thirds ... he needed every Republican vote plus, what, a third of the Democrats."

Hawley, a co-sponsor of the Senate bill, remains critical of Johnson for not bringing the expanded version to the floor, which would benefit Missourians exposed to radiation during World War II-era nuclear testing in his state for the first time.

The Department of Justice calls RECA compensation an apology fund for cancers and diseases contracted by Americans for their work in the uranium industry.

"Many 'downwind' communities are excluded from compensation. The expansion bill would fold in for the first time thousands of New Mexicans ... along with people from Idaho, Montana, Colorado, and Guam. And instead of just a handful of counties where fallout fell, the entire states of Utah, Nevada, and Arizona would be included," read an explainer by Source NM.

"And the bill acknowledges communities where nuclear waste was dumped in Missouri, as well as Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alaska," Source NM said.

RECA was originally enacted in 1990, championed by the late Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah.

Mark Swanson

Mark Swanson, a Newsmax writer and editor, has nearly three decades of experience covering news, culture and politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Politics
Proponents for the expansion of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act are frustrated with Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., who they say is stalling on the Senate-passed bill that would expand the base of Americans exposed to radiation to be eligible for federal benefits.
reca, expansion, advocates, mike johnson
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2024-42-20
Thursday, 20 June 2024 06:42 PM
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