Washington, D.C. – Following extensive efforts to fulfill our Nation’s promise to our retired coal miners who have kept the lights on for generations, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and a number of his colleagues announced an agreement on several key provisions in end-of-year spending legislation to shore up retired coal miners’ pensions and health care.
“Coal miners powered this country for decades and I am proud to say that after years of fighting, we have reached an agreement to keep our promises to the men and women who helped build our Nation,” said Senator Casey. “I’d like to thank Senator Joe Manchin and Speaker Nancy Pelosi for their unrelenting efforts to ensure that miners continue to receive their pensions and health care. I am proud to say that I have stood with miners throughout this fight and will keep on fighting to pass the bipartisan, House-passed, Butch Lewis Act to ensure that pensions for our Teamsters, Bakery and Confectionery workers and all other Pennsylvanians remain secure.”
Included in the agreement for the end-of-year funding package is the bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019, of which Senator Casey is an original cosponsor. This legislation would include provisions to shore up the 1974 Pension Plan, which is headed for insolvency due to coal company bankruptcies and the 2008 financial crisis. It would also ensure that miners, whose healthcare is at risk due to 2018 and 2019 coal company bankruptcies, will not lose their health benefits.
Senator Casey has been a consistent fighter for miners’ benefits, pushing for protections to miners’ pensions and health care to ensure a permanent pensions and health care fix for retired coal miners and their families. In July of this year, Senator Casey hosted a roundtable discussion with miners and their families affected by Black Lung disease. During the discussion, Senator Casey introduced the Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act (S. 2205) that would ensure that miners can access essential health and disability benefits.