U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, is blasting House and Senate negotiators who have finalized the National Defense Authorization bill without funding for radiation victims in the St. Louis area. That provision was stripped out Wednesday night.

Hawley called the decision a “major betrayal” after it passed the U.S. Senate in late July with bipartisan support.

“For 50 years we’ve been lied to by the (U.S.) government,” he told Missourinet. “For 50 years the government has poisoned the water (and) the soil in the St. Louis-St. Charles area, and now congressional leaders don’t want to give Missourians anything. The Senate passed this bipartisan vote – 61 votes – and yet now we won’t even get a chance to see it.”

Hawley now plans to try and block final passage of the defense policy and funding bill in its current form.

“It is a travesty, it is morally wrong, and I’m not going to accept ‘no’ as an answer,” he said. “We will go right back to the frontline and fight for this – go right back to forcing votes on this until we get it passed, both chambers.”

The provision would have renewed the Radiation Compensation Exposure Act (RECA) for 19 years and added several states whose residents would be eligible to take part, including Missouri. As of now, RECA is set to expire next May.

Northern Missouri Congressman Sam Graves, R-Tarkio, was one of the bill’s negotiators. In an interview with Missourinet prior to finalizing negotiations, he said he was confident that funding for radiation victims would remain in the bill. What changed is unknown. Missourinet is awaiting a response from Graves’ office.

Copyright 2023, Missourinet.