GOP senator presses Trump to back miners' benefits

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) is calling on President-elect Donald Trump to take up the cause of miners’ healthcare benefits, after a provision championed by coal-state senators was left out of a stopgap funding bill passed by the Senate on Friday night.

“Preserving retirement benefits for our nation’s coal miners is among the most important and pressing items on the congressional agenda,” Capito wrote in a letter to Trump late Friday.

Capito’s “Miners Protection Act” would preserve healthcare benefits for thousands of retired miners as well as pensions of over 100,000 current miners.

A group of Democratic senators, led by Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), fought loudly to get the bill included in the continuing resolution, which does include a temporary extension of miners’ benefits, though their efforts failed as many in their party did not want to risk a government shutdown.

“While this provision prevents miners from losing their health care coverage in the coming weeks, it is critical that Congress and the new administration take quick action to protect these benefits for the long term,” Capito wrote in her letter.

“Your recent election has provided hope in West Virginia communities that the regulatory assault on the coal and energy industries that has contributed to this economic devastation will soon come to an end,” she continued.

“I look forward to working with you on policies that will help put our miners back to work and rebuild local economies that rely on energy production.”

By:  Harper Neidig
Source: The Hill