WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a leader on the Senate Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement after President Donald Trump signed into law two FY2020 comprehensive appropriations packages yesterday, which included the Bipartisan American Miners Act. Senator Capito introduced the legislation along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to protect the health care and pension benefits for coal miners. The Senate passed both government funding bills yesterday.
“This is great news for our West Virginia miners,” Senator Capito said. “There’s no question that these coal miners have worked extremely hard for their pensions, and we’ve guaranteed that they are going to have them just in time for Christmas. I was proud to stand alongside these hardworking men and women—as well as Leader McConnell, Senator Manchin, Congressman McKinley, and the UMWA—every step of the way. It’s because of their dedication and heart that we were able to reach this point, and I thank them for keeping up the fight until the very end.”
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 13,000 miners and their healthcare.
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