House approves compensation resolution for nuke workers

LAS VEGAS - The House has approved a nonbinding resolution seeking compensation for workers who suffered illnesses related to their work with the nation's nuclear weapons program. The measure would include Nevada Test Site workers.

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., had tried to offer the compensation proposal as part of a military authorization bill, but her request was rejected by the House Rules Committee.

''I support (the resolution) because that is the right thing to do, but I am also well aware of the fact that that is too little, and it won't be getting the job done for these people who are looking to the federal government to get compensation for their illnesses,'' she said.

Earlier this week Berkley was critical of Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., saying he and other co-sponsors of the resolution ''turned tail and ran'' by pushing for a compensation resolution instead of an amendment.

Gibbons co-sponsored the resolution after trying unsuccessfully to get approval of a compensation amendment during a meeting of a House Armed Services subcommittee.

In an apparent reference to Berkley's criticism, Gibbons said Thursday on the House floor, ''Contrary to the arguments of those who simply want to jump on the bandwagon and then immediately demand to steer, this 'sense of Congress' amendment will provide necessary momentum to get this vital compensation program actually enacted into law.''

No date has been set for House or Senate committee hearings on the compensation program.

Thousands of former workers at the Nevada Test Site could be impacted by any future compensation bill.


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