McConnell, Trump Hesitate on Coal Miners' Pensions

Oct 12, 2016

Credit Gage Skidmore
Credit Gage Skidmore

Two of the Republican Party's top leaders have hesitated to support a bill that would preserve the pensions and health care benefits for thousands of retired union coal miners.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump are both popular in Appalachian coal communities. But McConnell in the past has blocked a bill that would rescue the pensions and health benefits of more than 13,000 retired coal miners in Kentucky. Trump has been silent on the bill, which Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has endorsed.

The miners say the federal government owes them pension and health care benefits, stemming from a promise made by former President Harry Truman in the 1940s to end a costly strike.

McConnell says he hopes "we can find a way forward" after the election.