Gosar Reintroduces the Downwinders Parity Act
Washington, D.C., March 29, 2023
Washington, D.C. – Representative Paul Gosar, DDS (AZ-09) issued the following statement after reintroducing H.R. 1751, the Downwinders Parity Act of 2023, legislation ensuring 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 conducted during the Cold War came with a heavy cost to Americans living in the surrounding communities. Every person who developed cancer or other related illnesses after being exposed to radiation from atomic weapons testing deserve to be compensated by the federal government.
The Radiation Exposure Compensation Trust Fund (RECA), a federally-funded program established by Congress in 1990, provides partial restitution to those living in certain areas affected by the nuclear weapons testing from 1945 to 1962.
Unfortunately, RECA failed to properly define the boundaries of impacted populations and many Americans that resided in counties in proximity to where the testing occurred were mistakenly excluded from the program for no logical scientific reason, including people that reside in Mohave County, Arizona and Clark County, Nevada.
Since first being elected to Congress, I have worked tirelessly to fix the error that excluded Downwinders from Mohave and Clark Counties from filing claims with the Department of Justice.
If Congress can waste more than $100 billion in taxpayer dollars to fight a proxy war in Ukraine, it certainly has a moral responsibility to stop dragging its feet and update RECA by immediately taking up my legislation that would extend RECA coverage to all of Mohave and Clark Counties,” concluded Congressman Gosar.
Arizona Senator Krysten Sinema recently introduced S. 463, companion legislation in the United States Senate noting “Current law prevents Arizonans in Mohave County exposed to radiation from receiving the payments they are due. We’re fixing this injustice by expanding eligibility coverage so these Arizonans can receive the payments they are due.”
The United States government conducted nearly 200 atmospheric weapons development tests as part of Cold War security from 1945 to 1962—an era when other nations also engaged in nuclear weapons testing and proliferation. These tests exposed thousands of Americans to cancer-causing ionized radiation from nuclear fallout.
While the current bill seeks to rectify a drafting error dating back to 1990, an error that omitted Mohave and Clark Counties, there is substantial evidence that radioactive fallout from the testing programs drifted across the United States and impacted many more people and areas.
The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) is a federally funded program that provides partial restitution to those living in certain areas affected by the nuclear weapons testing from 1945 to 1962. Those affected, referred to as Downwinders, are known to have developed cancer following the nearby above-ground atomic weapons testing. RECA has awarded over $2.4 billion in benefits to more than 37,000 claimants since its inception in 1990. Compensation is paid from the Radiation Exposure Compensation Trust Fund.
Click here to view a copy of H.R. 1751.