Johnson Cancels Vote on Radiation Exposure Bill After Missouri Lawmaker Protest

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Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) postponed plans to renew an expiring radiation compensation program after Missouri lawmakers opposed the bill for excluding residents of their state.

Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), along with Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) in the Senate, has led the Missouri delegation in urging the speaker to expand the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act to additional states where the U.S. government tested nuclear weapons or mishandled waste. Hawley’s bill, which reauthorizes the program for another five years, passed the Senate in March.

Missouri lawmakers voiced their disappointment on Wednesday after Johnson initially decided to hold a vote on a “clean” two-year reauthorization next week, citing his opposition to the expansion’s $50 billion price tag. However, Johnson later canceled the vote following further discussions with Wagner.

“After consulting with Congresswoman Wagner, the Majority Leader and Speaker have decided not to bring the proposed RECA reauthorization to the floor next week,” a spokesperson for the speaker told the Truth Voices.

Johnson’s office did not outline a future plan for the program, which expires on June 7. However, behind the scenes, Wagner presented Johnson with a proposal to offset the cost of the legislation, according to a source familiar with the matter.

This move follows Hawley’s attempts to garner Republican support. He initially proposed a $150 billion bill but reduced that amount by $100 billion in negotiations with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Wagner has intensified efforts to ease Johnson’s resistance ahead of the program’s expiration. Two weeks ago, she hosted a meeting with advocates attended by staff from the speaker’s office.

“It’s great news for MO that House leadership listened to my concerns & those of my constituents & pulled the Floor vote on this misguided proposal,” Wagner said in a post on X. “We’re going to keep fighting for expansion of RECA so Missourians impacted by radiation get the support & compensation they deserve.”

Meanwhile, Hawley has expressed his disagreement with Johnson publicly. He pledged to oppose every procedural step if the two-year House bill, supported by members of the Utah delegation, is brought up for a vote in the Senate.

“There is a RECA bill passed with nearly 70 votes by the Senate sitting in the House waiting for action,” Hawley said on X. “It’s the only viable option now. Pass it, Speaker Johnson!”

His version of the bill, which passed by a 69-30 margin, would expand RECA coverage to Missouri as well as states like New Mexico, Alaska, and Kentucky.

David Sivak
David Sivak
David Sivak manages the Congress and campaigns team. He was previously an editor at the Daily Caller, helping to stand up the outlet’s fact-checking arm. His work has been cited in publications ranging from Fox News to the Washington Post.

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