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Sen. Bond Sets Agenda for 05

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KWMU
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U.S. Senator Kit Bond.

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – U.S. Senator Kit Bond laid out his priorities for the year in St. Louis on Friday, including getting compensation for Cold War-era workers exposed to radiation decades ago.

Bond says cold-war era nuclear weapons workers should not have to jump through hoops to get compensation for illnesses suffered on the job.

There are two Labor Department program designed to help defense employees, including those who worked at Mallinkrodt plants in St. Louis and Weldon Spring.

Yet Bond says the programs are laden with red tape. One required applicants to prove they received enough radiation exposure to cause sickness.

"The solution for that is for them to designate a special exposure cohort, where we know they were greatly over-exposed and grant them the money rather than going through the bureaucratic hassle," he said.

The senator says he also will attempt again this year to get federal funding for a new Mississippi River bridge at St. Louis.

Supporters say the span would ease traffic on the overloaded Poplar Street Bridge, but finding the estimated $1.6 billion has proved a challenge.

Bond got $50 million into last year's Senate transportation bill, but that legislation got nowhere. Friday, the Missouri Republican said he'll make another effort.

"We'll see if that works," Bond said.
"That was one of my highest priorities last time, and you never can tell what you can get in, but we'll give it a try."

Bond also says he'll continue to seek compensation for Cold-war era nuclear workers sickened by radiation, and he hopes to expand the Parents as Teachers program.

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