Bill addresses retired miners

November 09, 2019

U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine have once again introduced legislation to firm up retired miners’ pensions and health care.

They announced Wednesday the filing of the Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019. Co-sponsors include Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.; Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Rob Portman, R-Ohio; Doug Jones, D-Ala.; Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Bob Casey, D-Penn.; Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.

J Daniels

The legislation would shore up the 1974 United Mine Workers of America Pension Plan — which is currently headed for insolvency due to coal company bankruptcies and the 2008 financial crisis — “ensuring that at-risk miners do not lose their healthcare due to the 2018 and 2019 coal company bankruptcies,” according to a press release.

The bill will amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to transfer excess funds from 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 healthcare benefits for 13,000 miners.