Despite President Trump’s affinity for coal, coal miners and their families face an uncertain future-especially retired coal miners, whose pensions are drying up as their former companies go bankrupt.
Lawmakers are trying to come to the rescue with the “American Coal Miners Act of 2019”. The bill would prop up miners’ pension funds, ensure healthcare coverage, and extend black lung benefits for disabled miners and their dependents.
Miners say they want lawmakers to protect their hard-earned pensions.
“Me and thousands of other people like me helped to keep the lights on in this country,’ said Manuel Ojeda from West Virginia. ‘We’ve done our jobs now its time for Congress to do their jobs.
Democrat Senator Joe Manchin says the “American Coal Miners Act’ of 2019” would do the trick.
“It guarantees the pensions that we’ve been fighting for,” said Senator Manchin.
Many retired mine workers rely on the 1974 pension plan to provide benefits, but the closure of coal companies has left those funds uncertain.
Senator Manchin’s legislation would amend existing mining laws, so certain funds could be transferred to the pension plan.
Lawmakers say they want to make sure miners receive healthcare benefits, even if their employer goes bankrupt.
The bill would also help make sure miners suffering from black lung get the resources they need.
Democrat Senator Mark Warner from Virginia says contributions to the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund are set to drastically decrease if Congress doesn’t act fast.
“Black lung is still a real, enormous medical challenge,” said Senator Warner.
Warner urges lawmakers to support the bill and extend the current tax rate for 10 years.
“It is way past time to fix this problem. Let’s take that step,” said Senator Warner.
Miners say they’re counting on Congress to get them the healthcare and pensions they’ve worked work.