McConnell's Plan Doesn't Include Long-Term Options for Miners Benefits


A stopgap bill by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to temporarily protect health care benefits for thousands of retired coal miners has been met with resounding criticism from Senate Democrats. 

The pensions and benefits for thousands of retired coal miners are set to run out by the end of this year. Senate Democrats have been working for years to pass the Miner’s Protection Act – a bill that would move money from the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund into the miners’ pension and benefits plan. This bill has been met with resistance by Senate Republicans who are wary of bailing out unionized workers.

This week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell counter proposed paying for miners’ health care by taking money from their current health-care plan. This proposal only provides enough funds for four months.

In a Tuesday statement, Sen. Joe Manchin, says he will block other bills on the Senate floor until miners get their full health care and pension money. Senator Capito also released a statement expressing her disappointment in Congress’ failure to pass the full bill. 

Appalachia Helth News

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation.