HAGÅTÑA (THE GUAM DAILY POST) —— Guam Delegate Jim Moylan said he’ll be working to secure radiation exposure compensation for Guam as Congress works in the coming months to iron out the final kinks in the national defence budget for fiscal 2024.
The House of Representatives is the final hurdle to be cleared before Guam residents who were harmed by atomic weapons testing can be included in the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, or RECA.
The Senate last month voted narrowly to include Guam and other jurisdictions in RECA, a move that brought the island closer to compensation than it’s ever been. Just last week, President Joe Biden told a crowd in New Mexico, the birthplace of the atomic bomb, that he was willing to help take care of residents harmed by radiation.
Moylan told The Guam Daily Post that members of the Senate and the House will be meeting for a conference committee potentially next month to reconcile the differences in the versions of the defence budget. The delegate said he’s seeking a seat in the conference and that his office has been arguing for Guam to be represented.
“My goal is to make sure that RECA (coverage) stays in there.”
He said it’s difficult to gauge whether the measure will be broadly supported among members of the House.
“There are over 400 colleagues. My friends, they’re going to support me in Congress. Is that all 400 of them? No. But, … if the Senate approves it, it’s not a big issue, we’re going to get it in and continue to move forward. … We’re going to get some support, but (the) overall support it needs to win, that’s going to come down to when it gets to the forefront,” Moylan said.
“Right now, this is the most ideal route toward getting this measure enacted into law. If this route fails, we will work with all the sponsors of both the House and Senate bills to reconvene and attempt additional avenues,” he said.
Local radiation survivors are seeking to put the pressure on Moylan, with Robert Celestial, president of the Pacific Association of Radiation Survivors, encouraging members of the group to call and text the delegate.
“Everyone, please spread the news because this is for everyone on Guam who has suffered and died and we need to get this passed in the House of Representatives. We have done our part with our friends in our Frontline Community Group in the states and we were able to get it passed in the Senate. Now Congressman Moylan needs to step up and fight for what is right,” Celestial said in a message also shared with the Post.
Moylan said RECA inclusion is a priority.
“I will continue to advocate for the issue within the parameters we are able to control,” Moylan said
Moylan also has introduced stand-alone legislation to have Guam survivors compensated, which will provide another avenue if needed….PACNEWS