Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Bob Casey, Joe Manchin (D-WV), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) yesterday introduced the Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019, legislation to secure our nation’s retired miners’ pensions. This bill would shore up the 1974 Pension Plan, which is headed for insolvency due to coal company bankruptcies and the 2008 financial crisis. The Bipartisan American Miners Act would also ensure that miners, who are at risk due to 2018 and 2019 coal company bankruptcies, will not lose their health care.
“It is time to keep our promises to the men and women who built our great nation,” said Senator Casey. “Coal miners powered this country for decades, and we need to make sure that they get the pensions and health care they earned. Thousands of Pennsylvania families are counting on us to take action. We must hold a vote and pass the American Miners Act now.”
“Year after year, our coal miners risked their lives to bring America the energy needed to become the world leader we are today. Our coal miners made a commitment to our country, and now it is our turn to uphold the commitment we made to them in 1946 by securing their hard-earned pensions and healthcare. This is not a solution that can be held off any longer and we must act now, which is why I am proud to introduce the Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019 with my colleagues today to secure our commitment to our miners by protecting their pensions and healthcare. I look forward to passing this legislation with all of my colleagues in the near future and getting this to the President’s desk,” said Senator Manchin.
“For the thousands of West Virginia miners depending on these pensions and health care plans, this bipartisan fix is the answer,” Senator Capito said. “This is a permanent remedy for the pension and health care dilemma miners across Appalachia have unfairly had to face. I’ve been working in the Senate with Leader McConnell and Senator Manchin on this issue for years, and I’m so glad to see us come to this solution today. Our miners worked for these pensions, and I’m proud to be able to deliver what they’ve earned.”
The Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019 would 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’ health care 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.
The Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019 is also co-sponsored by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).