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Hawley threatens to hold up defense bill over radiation compensation

WASHINGTON — Today U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) welcomed Missouri grassroots advocates impacted by federal government-caused nuclear waste to the U.S. Capitol. He repeated his pledge to oppose and hold up the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) if it does not include compensation for the victims of decades-old radiation in the greater St. Louis area.

“If this emerges from a back room, and this provision is out, the defense bill is going to face tough sledding on the floor of the Senate. […] I am not going to vote to pay defense contractors hand over fist while the people of my state—and, frankly, across the country—are denied the compensation that they’re due,” said Senator Hawley.

He continued, “I don’t quite understand how it is that we may not have money available to compensate radiation victims in the state of Missouri—who have the highest rates of cancer in the nation—but we have unlimited funding for Ukraine.”


Senator Hawley has consistently advocated on behalf of the Coldwater Creek community and all Missourians impacted by government-caused nuclear contamination.

On July 27, 2023, in a strong bipartisan vote, Senator Hawley secured passage of an amendment to the FY 2024 NDAA that would provide compensation to victims of government-caused nuclear contamination. The legislation extends the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) to cover victims of improperly-stored nuclear waste in affected areas in the St. Louis region. The measure—which was cosponsored by U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), and Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.)—also reauthorized and strengthened the RECA program to cover more impacted Americans from nuclear tests along with uranium miners. President Biden has endorsed the legislation.


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