Congressman Gosar Introduces Downwinders Compensation Act

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Washington, January 27, 2019 | comments
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.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, U.S. Representative Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04), released the following statement after introducing H.R.757, the Downwinders Compensation Act, which  will ensure justice by providing partial restitution to victims who now have cancer and other serious medical issues as a result of being exposed to nuclear fallout and radiation during government testing.

“Military testing is vital to ensuring our nation is prepared to protect our country from hostile nations, said Congressman Gosar. "This military readiness can’t come at the cost of innocent American lives. I remain committed to correcting the injustice that was committed by the federal government during the Cold War.”

Background:

See bill text HERE 

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. This bill corrects this injustice and will provide compensation to qualifying individuals not included in the 1990 Act that deserve restitution. New claimants under this act are subject to the same burden of proof as all other claimants currently covered.

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.

Cosponsors that joined U.S. Representative Paul Gosar in introducing this legislation include U.S. Representatives Andy Biggs (AZ-05),* Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03)

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