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We’ve Never Come This Close Before!

October 24, 2023

October 24, 2023

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CWP News

For all Americans who appreciate the value of our nuclear deterrence, the need to come together and rally for Congressional support of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) expansion legislation is more urgent than ever before. So if you’ve never picked up a pen or the phone before to contact your Senator or Representative, now is the time to act so that uranium workers and Downwinders can receive the long-awaited government benefits they deserve.

Yes, we’ve been promised action before. And, yes, we’ve been disappointed before. But the Senate’s recent passage of the RECA amendment by a vote of 61-37 is cause for renewed hope. The bipartisan-supported legislation would significantly expand the financial and health benefits available through RECA, as well as the number of people eligible for benefits including Downwinders. And it would keep RECA protection in place for 19 more years.

Geographic reach of the Act would also be extended. Under the new bill, coverage would be expanded to New Mexico, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Guam and previously excluded areas of Nevada, Utah and Arizona. That’s good news, but we’re not there yet. Finally bringing this amendment over the finish line requires a united effort, as the Senate and House Conference Committee will meet and negotiate the final language. And Cold War Patriots has plans in place designed to make that effort a bit easier.

As part of our ongoing advocacy work, we’ve created a new online resource hub (coldwarpatriots.org/strengthening-reca) that, among other things, provides relevant news updates regarding the legislative progress of expanding RECA benefits, and links to pertinent U.S. Senators and House members so that people like you can reach out to request their support of the legislation. There’s also a petition to sign that will be forwarded to key members of Congress.

These are valuable tools but only work if they get used. There is great momentum going into the return of Congress from its summer break in September. Since the bipartisan-supported RECA legislation is part of the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (a must-pass bill to keep our nation’s Department of Defense operational), we expect the RECA effort to be a priority action item. It will be up to a Senate and House Conference Committee to decide if the Senate version gets supported, is modified, or gets dropped entirely.

So it’s important that as many voters as possible express their opinions loudly and quickly to persuade Congress to do the right thing for the thousands who have suffered health consequences (most often cancer) as a result of their exposure to radiation due to our country’s uranium mining and atomic testing programs.

This has been a long journey to get as far as we have, and we’re proud of our ongoing involvement in that journey’s progress. Cold War Patriots has been there from the beginning to keep this issue top-of-mind with our political leaders. Among other things, we have been an active member of the RECA Working Group which was responsible for helping to secure the passage of the two-year extension of RECA benefits that were originally scheduled to sunset in 2022. Collaborating with other members within this Group, we have already participated in more than 30 face-to-face meetings with those political leaders with the power to make positive change happen.

And we’re ready to do more. But we need your help.

Let your voice be heard. Make sure Congress knows that the expansion of RECA benefits is not just the right thing to do but that it is long overdue and shouldn’t be delayed any longer. Call or write your Senators and Representatives today. Spread the word to your friends and co-workers to do the same. We have come too far to let this unprecedented opportunity pass us by.

Visit the online resource hub to learn how to contact your legislative representatives and urge them to support this historic effort!

And sign the petition now! coldwarpatriots.org/strengthening-reca