MIL-OSI USA: Reps. Vasquez, Moylan, Colleagues Introduce RECA Extension and Expansion Amendment to NDAA to Deliver Overdue Compensation for New Mexicans

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Source: United States House of Representatives – Representative Gabe Vasquez’s (NM-02)

WASHINGTON, D.C. This week, U.S. Representative Gabe Vasquez (NM-02), alongside Rep. James Moylan (GU-00), introduced a bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which would extend and expand the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) to include New Mexico and other parts of the country that were previously left out. 

“For decades, too many New Mexicans have suffered the effects of radiation exposure from testing and uranium mining and have been denied the justice they rightfully deserve. I’m proud to offer an amendment with Rep. Moylan to extend and expand the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act to ensure that New Mexicans receive their overdue compensation,” said Rep. Gabe Vasquez (NM-02). “This is a harm done by the federal government, that should be fixed by the federal government. I will continue to fight to pass this critical legislation and provide much-needed relief to all those who have faced, and continue to face, the consequences of our nation’s nuclear weapons program.”

“Delaying compensation for radiation exposure has severe consequences for those affected. It not only prolongs the suffering and financial burden of individuals and their families, but it also perpetuates the injustice and neglect towards the victims. Furthermore, the delay undermines trust in the government’s commitment to righting past wrongs and providing justice for all citizens. Ensuring that those who have been affected by radiation exposure are properly compensated is of the utmost importance and I’m working with various offices across the aisle to request that leadership prioritize the vote on the expansion bill for the RECA and push for its passage. If not, at least support the efforts through the amendment in the NDAA. We will continue this fight until the job gets done” said Rep. James Moylan (GU-00). 

As a member of the House Armed Services Committee that authors the NDAA, Vasquez will fight for this amendment to be included in the final version of the NDAA. 

This amendment was also co-sponsored by Representatives Teresa Leger Fernández (NM-03), Melanie Stansbury (NM-01), Cori Bush (MO-01), Ann Wagner (MO-02), Greg Stanton (AZ-04), Ruben Gallego (AZ-03) and Dina Titus (NV-01).

“With RECA expiring this weekend, we urge House Republican Leadership to allow members to vote on our bipartisan NDAA amendment to extend and expand the program,” said Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández (NM-03). “A coalition of members from Guam to New Mexico, from Arizona to Missouri, stand united in asking the Speaker to let us vote to compensate our communities for the harm they’ve suffered before any more victims die. The time for justice is now.” 

“The vestiges of World War II continues to kill people in my district and beyond, specifically the toxic radioactive waste dumped in our communities by the Manhattan Project. Today, the House failed to bring forward any extension or expansion of this vital program that compensates the victims of radioactive waste,” said Rep. Cori Bush (MO-01).“This is a failure of Speaker Johnson and the Republican majority in the House. In the absence of a vote on the senate-passed bill, I am proud to support this amendment to the NDAA that would extend and expand RECA. It prioritizes helping victims of war, rather than fueling it.”

“This important amendment will help Missourians and others impacted by our nation’s World War II nuclear program get the support and compensation they justly deserve. I urge its consideration on the Floor” said Rep. Ann Wagner (MO-02). 

“With RECA just days away from expiring, it is critical that Congress takes action to expand this program for the thousands of radiation-exposed Arizonans who still do not have access to the benefits they are owed. I am proud to support this amendment to do just that,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-03).

“The Radiation Exposure Compensation Program is an essential resource for the tens of thousands of service members, scientists, uranium workers, and downwind civilians who have developed cancers linked to our nation’s nuclear testing program. While these tests took place primarily in Nevada, RECA payments have been made to individuals in every state and territory. The extension of this program is the least we can do to compensate those Cold Warriors whose sacrifices ensured our national security,” said Rep. Dina Titus (NV-01). 

Vasquez has been a longtime champion for expanding RECA to deliver overdue compensation to New Mexico, and he will continue to fight for the passage of an expanded RECA.