Washington D.C. – Pointing to more than $100 million in approved compensation claims, U.S. Senator Pete Domenici today said the overwhelming response to funding made available to pay IOUs and new claims to suffering former uranium miners shows that Congress should continue to provide automatic funding for the Justice Department program.
Domenici today accepted a U.S. Justice Department report indicating the approval by Sept. 30 of 2,166 claims for payment. The approved claims will result in about $100 million for the nation’s ailing former uranium miners through the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA). Some 107 claims worth $9.62 million were approved for New Mexicans.
The approval of the claims was a direct result of a Domenici-authored amendment to the FY 2001 Supplemental Appropriations Bill which committed “such sums as may be necessary” to pay all claims approved by the Sept. 30 end of the 2001 federal fiscal year. That provision became law July 24.
“The fact that $100 million in payments will be issued is very welcome, especially when one considers that the Justice Department was issuing paper IOUs to these people only a few months ago,” Domenici said. “The overwhelming response just shows me that there was a pent-up demand for the benefits promised to these workers who played such a vital role in our national defense.”
The Domenici effort provided the Justice Department with sufficient resources through the end of FY2001 to pay the IOUs it issued to uranium miners, downwinders and workers in