VIDEO: Luján Statement on Passing Legislation to Provide Justice for New Mexicans Who Sacrificed for National Security

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) issued the following statement after the U.S. Senate passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA):

“After decades of work and tireless advocacy, we are the closest we have ever been to providing justice and compensation for those who have suffered at the hands of our country’s national security. Today’s bipartisan vote delivers a clear message to the generations of New Mexicans living with the lasting impacts of the Trinity Test that our country has a moral obligation to address this injustice and compensate families for their suffering.

“In addition to New Mexico being the home of the Trinity Test, the original RECA program failed to include coverage for the thousands of New Mexicans who worked in the uranium mines after 1971. These workers who helped develop our nation’s nuclear arsenal and those living near mining operations lacked meaningful safeguards or protection. As a result, far too many were exposed and sadly became sick or died.

“This victory would not be possible without the passionate advocacy of Tina Cordova, Phil Harrison, and countless advocates who made sure that Congress did not forget the sacrifice of Downwinders and uranium miners. I also want to thank Senators Hawley and Crapo, and the rest of my colleagues, who helped us deliver the most significant Congressional action in decades to expand this program for the people of New Mexico.

“Now, I urge Speaker Johnson to put this bipartisan bill on the House floor for a vote. Every day that Congress does not act is another day that the federal government has failed these victims.”


Since being elected to Congress, Senator Luján has played the leading role in advancing legislation to strengthen the RECA program. Last year, Senator Luján led a bipartisan coalition of Senators to pass RECA as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – the most significant Congressional action in decades to strengthen the program. Republican leadership ultimately blocked its inclusion in the final NDAA bill despite bipartisan support. Senator Luján has introduced RECA legislation in every Congress since being elected in 2008.


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