Members of Missouri’s congressional delegation are unhappy that the U.S. House is not including payments for St. Louis-area radiation victims in their latest federal budget bill.

The measure sponsored by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-MO, would expand the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act to cover residents in more states, including Missouri, who were sickened by radioactive waste when nuclear weapons were developed and tested during the 20th Century.

“Well, the House just needs to take up the bill that the Senate has already passed, twice now, and pass it. Vote on it. This isn’t hard,” Hawley told Missourinet. “I mean this is what the House is there to do, vote on legislation. They need to vote on some legislation that would be good for Missouri for once.”

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-MO, who represents portions of St. Louis County that are contaminated by radioactive waste, called on the House to immediately pass the bill separately from the federal budget.

“Missourians are terrified that radioactive waste is poisoning our communities,” Wagner said on the U.S. House floor. “These innocent victims of the US nuclear weapons program are relying on Congress for restitution.”

Rep. Cori Bush, D-MO, also blasted Republican congressional leaders for leaving the RECA extension out of the budget, calling it an “insult” to communities harmed by radioactive waste.

Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-MO, called it “disappointing.”

“I grew up in that area and there are a lot of people that have been harmed by their own government,” Schmitt said. “We’ve got to be able to address this.”

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