11.06.19

Capito, Manchin, McConnell Introduce the Bipartisan American Miners Act to Secure Pensions and Healthcare

WASHINGTON, D.C. ­– U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), today introduced the Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019, legislation to secure our nation’s retired miners pensions by shoring up the 1974 Pension Plan, which is headed for insolvency due to coal company bankruptcies and the 2008 financial crisis, and ensuring that the miners who are at risk due to 2018 and 2019 coal company bankruptcies will not lose their healthcare. 

“For the thousands of West Virginia miners depending on these pensions and health care plans, this bipartisan fix is the answer,” Senator Capito said. “This is a permanent remedy for the pension and health care dilemma miners across Appalachia have unfairly had to face. I’ve been working in the Senate with Leader McConnell and Senator Manchin on this issue for years, and I’m so glad to see us come to this solution today. Our miners worked for these pensions, and I’m proud to be able to deliver what they’ve earned.”   

“Year after year, our coal miners risked their lives to bring America the energy needed to become the world leader we are today. Our coal miners made a commitment to our country, and now it is our turn to uphold the commitment we made to them in 1946 by securing their hard-earned pensions and healthcare. This is not a solution that can be held off any longer and we must act now, which is why I am proud to introduce the Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019 with my colleagues today to secure our commitment to our miners by protecting their pensions and healthcare. I look forward to passing this legislation with all of my colleagues in the near future and getting this to the President’s desk,” said Senator Manchin.  

“Unfortunately, eight years of regulatory assault on coal country can’t be undone overnight. Earlier this week, I personally raised with President Trump the importance of protecting these coal miners’ pensions and health retirement benefits, and I am committed to continuing to work with him and my colleagues in Congress towards a solution. The startling number of orphaned miners in the drastically underfunded pension plan presents an urgent crisis for entire communities of miners, retirees, and their families. To help our miners and their families, including those in Kentucky, Senators Manchin, Capito, and I proudly introduced our bill today to help solve this looming pension crises,” said Senator McConnell. 

The Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019 will amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to transfer funds in excess of the amounts needed to meet existing obligations under the Abandoned Mine Land fund to the 1974 Pension Plan to prevent its insolvency. It will also amend the Coal Act to include 2018 and 2019 bankruptcies in the miners’ healthcare fix that passed in 2017. These actions will secure the pensions of 92,000 coal miners and protect health care benefits for 15,000 miners and their healthcare. 

The Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019 is also co-sponsored by Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

 

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