Luján, Crapo Applaud Senate Passage of RECA Extension
Legislation extending RECA program for two years passes Senate
Washington D.C. – U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) applauded the U.S. Senate’s unanimous agreement on an extension of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) program for two years, allowing individuals more time to apply for the compensation they deserve. Both Senators Luján and Crapo are longtime leads on RECA expansion efforts and reiterated the need for additional efforts to expand the program to include coverage for all of those who lived downwind of above-ground atomic weapons tests in the 1950s and 1960s. The legislation is now headed to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration. Without reauthorization, the RECA program is scheduled to sunset in July.
Over the past decade, Senator Luján has been a consistent champion of strengthening RECA to cover New Mexico Downwinders. As a member of the House, Luján introduced the legislation in previous sessions and convened meetings between House Leadership and radiation exposure survivors. Luján also secured a Congressional apology in the House-passed National Defense Authorization Acts of Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021.
“Preserving and expanding the RECA program to provide long overdue justice to New Mexico downwinders and uranium workers is one of my top priorities in Congress. The Senate took a critical step to extend the RECA program ahead of the program’s July sunset date,” said Luján. “Now, the House must swiftly pass this legislation and send it to President Biden’s desk. Congress cannot let the RECA program expire and must continue to work to expand and strengthen RECA.”
“The Senate’s action to extend the RECA program for two years is critical to providing compensation downwinders rightfully deserve,” said Crapo. “The House should move quickly on the extension and send the legislation to the President to be signed into law. Far too many innocent victims have been lost to cancer-related deaths from Cold War era above-ground weapons testing. More must be done to assist those still with us not currently covered under the program.”
In March 2022, Senators Luján and Crapo and led a bipartisan letter urging Congressional Leadership to extend RECA. The legislation the Senate passed provides a clean, two-year extension of the RECA program.
Senators Luján and Crapo will continue pushing for passage of their bipartisan legislation, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, to compensate individuals exposed to radiation while working in uranium mines or living downwind from atomic weapons tests.