Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement after he voted against cutting off debate on the Defense Authorization bill:
“I voted against cutting off debate on the Defense Authorization bill because it’s important for the Senate to deal with several important amendments, including my bipartisan amendment to help sick nuclear workers and their families,” Alexander said. “There was plenty of time for the Senate to hold a full and open debate on this important legislation, as it has in the past, so that we pass the best bill possible. I’m disappointed that we were prevented from getting a vote on my amendment, and I will continue to push to ensure that our Cold War heroes and their families get the compensation they deserve.”
Alexander said today’s vote to cut off debate on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (S. 3001) would preclude further consideration of his amendment to reform the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA). Alexander said his amendment is needed to ensure that compensation for the families of sick nuclear workers won’t be taken away in cases where sick former nuclear workers and their eligible survivors die before their claims are processed. The Alexander amendment, cosponsored by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and nine other senators, would address these problems by paying compensation to other family members – including children, parents, siblings, grandchildren and grandparents – who are not considered eligible survivors under current law.