March 12, 2024

Bush, Wagner, Colleagues Call on Speaker Johnson to Include RECA Reauthorization in Upcoming Appropriations Package

Washington D.C. (Mar. 12, 2024) — Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01), Congresswoman Ann Wagner (MO-02), and their Missouri colleagues Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03), and Congressman Mark Alford (MO-04) called on House and Senate Leadership and the Appropriations Committees to include the Radiation Exposure Compensation Reauthorization Act in the upcoming fiscal year 2024 appropriations package. 


“We write with the utmost urgency regarding the impending sunset of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA). It is imperative that S. 3853, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Reauthorization Act, legislation that recently passed the Senate on a 69-30 vote, be attached to the upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2024 appropriations package,” wrote the lawmakers. “As you know, Congress first enacted RECA in 1990 to provide benefits for Americans adversely affected by the U.S. government’s testing of atomic weapons…Unfortunately, the long-term ramifications of the federal government’s atomic research continue to harm Americans today, far beyond the scope of current law. RECA’s authorization is currently scheduled to sunset on June 7, 2024, and this program must be renewed and reformed.  In Missouri, nuclear waste from these projects that was discarded in the 1960s has resulted in radioactive contamination spreading throughout the greater St. Louis area, including St. Louis County and St. Charles County.


“With RECA’s authorization expiring in less than three months, time is of the essence. Therefore, we emphatically request that S. 3853 be attached to the upcoming FY2024 appropriations package.”


Read the full letter HERE.


Last week, Congresswoman Bush released a statement after the Senate passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA). Congresswoman Bush has been a longtime advocate for the cleanup of Coldwater Creek. Examples of some legislative actions that Congresswoman Bush has put forward, include:

  • In October 2023, Congresswoman Bush leveraged her position on the House Oversight Committee to secure a Government Accountability Office report detailing the effects of Manhattan Project waste in St. Louis.

  • In August 2023, Congresswoman Bush met one-on-one with Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm at the Weldon Spring Site Interpretative Center to discuss radioactive waste across St. Louis left decades ago by the Manhattan Project.

  • In April 2023, Congresswoman Bush partnered with Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) to introduce the bipartisan, bicameral Justice for Jana Elementary Act of 2023, which would require the cleanup of Jana Elementary School in Florissant, Missouri located in the Congresswoman’s district.

  • In July 2022, Congresswoman Bush secured an amendment through the House-passed appropriations bill that transferred $500,000 to study the impacts of low-level radiation on human health and the environment. 

  • In June 2022, initiated a federal review with the Government Accountability Office for the cleanup of radioactive contamination of Coldwater Creek in St. Louis County.

  • In May 2022, Congresswoman Bush introduced the Coldwater Creek Signage Act which would require signage to be posted along Coldwater Creek informing residents of the dangers of radioactive waste exposure.

  • Congresswoman Bush voted in favor of H.R. 3967, the Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Actor Honoring Our PACT Act, which will finally treat toxic exposure as a cost of war by addressing the full range of issues impacting toxic-exposed veterans, including access to earned benefits and health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Included in the PACT Act’s final text were four of Congresswoman Bush’s amendments:

  • Amendment 32: This amendment would require that veterans who worked or spent time near the Manhattan Project in St. Louis be studied to determine the impacts of toxic exposure on their health. 

  • Amendment 22: This amendment would require the Department of Defense to look back and review all known cases of toxic exposure on their military bases not only here in America, but also abroad. 

  • Amendment 17: This amendment would incorporate race and ethnicity as demographic options in a study on the rate of cancer in veterans. 

  • Amendment 18: This amendment would include a variety of external factors to be considered in a medical study on all veterans serving after September 11, 2001. Those factors include race, age, period of service, military occupation, gender and disability status. 

  • In July 2021, Congresswoman Bush passed an amendment to H.R. 3684 – the INVEST in America Act. The amendment would require the EPA Administrator to undertake a review of current and ongoing efforts to remediate radiological contamination at Coldwater Creek and to post public signage to prevent exposure risks for residents in the surrounding areas. The Congresswoman worked with activists, community members, and organizations including Just Moms STL, to introduce the amendment.