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U.S. President & Congress screwed U.S. victims of U.S. nuclear-weapons tests so as to fund more weapons.

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Date: Tuesday, 23 January 2024

U.S. President & Congress screwed U.S. victims of U.S. nuclear-weapons tests so as to fund more weapons.

Eric Zuesse (blogs at

Stars and Stripes newspaper and Congressional Quarterly’s Roll Call newspaper headlined on January 13th, “Victims of nuclear weapon development plan Capitol Hill barrage” and reported that because continuation of Government funding of the medical needs for the victims of U.S. nuclear-weapons testing would require reducing by 96% the planned $153.5 billion increase in the coming decade’s Pentagon budget, the Congress and the President decided to terminate that health-care reimbursement to those American victims of the U.S. Government. Given the choice between expanding the military budget versus continuing to fund the cancer-care and other medical needs of the Americans who had been certified to be suffering the results from that nuclear-weapons testing, the President and U.S. Senators and Members of the House of Representatives decided to eliminate the $147.1 billion medical expense. 

The medical coverage had been supplied under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, a 1990 law.

On January 15th, the Washington State Standard newspaper bannered “‘The fight isn’t over’: Idaho downwinders persist after Congress cuts compensation for them: Residents work to understand the ongoing impacts of nuclear test fallout and radiated clouds over Idaho decades ago.” It reported:

This December was the closest Congress has gotten to passing legislation that would have provided compensation to Idahoans who developed cancer after radioactive contamination and exposure, she said. But Congress ultimately removed a provision that would have expanded and extended the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act to include Idahoans who were “downwind” from radioactive fallout. Currently, only two dozen downwinder counties in Arizona, Nevada and Utah are included in the program.

Despite that setback, Henderson said she won’t abandon the cause, and remains committed because she hopes to fulfill a promise she made to a friend. ...

The January/February issue of the Arms Control Association’s Arms Control Today headlined “Congress Cancels Compensation for Radiation Victims” and reported that,

In July, a bipartisan group of senators won approval to include a 29-page amendment to the draft NDAA [the Defense Deparment’s funding] that would extend RECA for two decades and expand its eligibility coverage to new regions and communities harmed by nuclear testing fallout. Additional harmed uranium miners and workers and certain Missouri communities affected by discarded Manhattan Project nuclear waste would have been covered for the first time. (See ACT, September 2023.)

The Senate passed its version of the NDAA by a vote of 87-13 on Dec. 13, and the House passed its version 310-118 on Dec. 14. The RECA amendment was not part of the House version of the NDAA, and the compromise hammered out by a House-Senate conference committee did not include the Senate amendment. The reconciled legislation was signed into law by President Biden on Dec. 23. 

Republican U.S. Senator Josh Hawley blamed especially the Republican leadership in both the Senate and House for the decision, though many Democrats also voted for it and the Democratic President signed it. Hawley’s procedural motion to not cut out the $147.1 billion was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 26 to 73.

“The Senate passed the defense bill tonight, but it’s nothing to celebrate. Defense contractors get paid billions, while Missourians poisoned by their government get nothing. It’s a travesty,” Hawley posted on his social media account shortly after the vote.

The political spat continues but the medical coverage has been eliminated and there is no prospect of its being reversed. Instead, the Defense Department is the only federal Department whose annual budget recently has been increasing — all others are going down. The Congress and the President are far more concerned to defend the profits of the owners of stock in companies such as General Dynamics than to defend the American people such as America’s victims whose lives have been shortened by these nuclear-weapons tests. That’s their real concern about ‘Defense’.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse’s latest book, AMERICA’S EMPIRE OF EVIL: Hitler’s Posthumous Victory, and Why the Social Sciences Need to Change, is about how America took over the world after World War II in order to enslave it to U.S.-and-allied billionaires. Their cartels extract the world’s wealth by control of not only their ‘news’ media but the social ‘sciences’ — duping the public.

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