GOSAR’S “DOWNWINDERS” AMENDMENT TO NDAA PASSES
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Representative Paul Gosar D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after Gosar number 63 amendment to H.R. 5515 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 passed on the House Floor:
On May 22, the House of Representatives unanimously passed Rep. Gosar’s amendment that requires National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to perform an assessment to determine if certain individuals exposed to nuclear fallout from atmospheric nuclear testing by the federal government at the Nevada Test Site contracted certain cancers as a result of that testing and should be eligible for the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.
From 1945 to 1962 the United States government conducted nearly 200 atmospheric weapons development tests as part of our nation’s Cold War security strategy during an era when other hostile nations were also engaged in nuclear weapons testing and proliferation. These tests exposed thousands of innocent Americans to cancer-causing ionized radiation from nuclear fallout.
When the injuries were discovered, Congress subsequently provided an apology on behalf of the nation and passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990, or RECA, to establish a trust fund for partial restitution to individuals—commonly referred to as “Downwinders”—who have contracted certain cancers and other serious diseases that can be directly attributed to the radiation exposure from the nuclear weapons testing.
While the Act which established RECA was well-intended, there are serious boundary flaws that have prevented otherwise eligible Americans from receiving justice and the compensation to which they are entitled. Americans that reside in counties in close proximity to where the testing occurred are excluded from this program for no logical scientific reason, including people that reside in Mohave County, Arizona and Clark County, Nevada. Rep. Gosar has been leading the charge to rectify this injustice and provide compensation to qualifying individuals not included in the 1990 Act that deserve restitution.
In 2014, Congressman Gosar held a field hearing in Kingman, Arizona in regard to the Downwinders of Mohave County, Arizona. At the hearing, Congressman Gosar heard a range of testimony, from expert reviews on the law and medicine to the personal stories of actual Downwinders. Witnesses included a Congressional Research Service (CRS) analyst, Mohave County officials, the Chairwoman of the Hualapai Tribe and several local residents who either developed radiation-induced cancer themselves or have family members who died from radiation-induced cancer.
Rep. Gosar has also introduced bipartisan legislation to address these issues in the form of H.R. 3531, the Downwinders Compensation Act.