Casey Requests Quick Action on Miner's Protection Act

Democratic Members of Senate Finance Committee call for Miner’s Protection Act to be attached to waiver needed for the nomination of Robert Lighthizer to be the U.S. Trade Representative

Casey Requests Quick Action on Miner's Protection Act

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) requesting the Miner’s Protection Act be attached to the statutorily-required waiver needed for the nomination of Mr. Robert Lighthizer to be the United States Trade Representative.

The Senators said in part: “Last year, on September 21st, the Miners Protection Act was passed by the Committee on Finance on a bipartisan vote of 18 to 8 with your support.  As you know, we worked closely with our colleagues to ensure that the bill was fully offset and that no funding was diverted away from either abandoned mine reclamation efforts or annual payments to certified states.  Despite unanimous support from Senate Democrats, the Miners Protection Act was not included in the Continuing Resolution last December, and we seek your support today for a permanent solution that gives our miners and their families peace of mind.”

Read the full letter below or click here:

Dear Chairman Hatch:

On March 1, approximately 22,800 of our nation’s retired coal miners will receive notices like the one attached here informing them that their healthcare benefits will be terminated at the end of April.  This will be the third such notice that has been issued over the past four months. Our miners did everything we asked of them, and it is time that we uphold our end of the bargain and provide them with the permanent benefits they earned through a lifetime of work.

Last year, on September 21st, the Miners Protection Act was passed by the Committee on Finance on a bipartisan vote of 18 to 8 with your support.  As you know, we worked closely with our colleagues to ensure that the bill was fully offset and that no funding was diverted away from either abandoned mine reclamation efforts or annual payments to certified states.  Despite unanimous support from Senate Democrats, the Miners Protection Act was not included in the Continuing Resolution last December, and we seek your support today for a permanent solution that gives our miners and their families peace of mind.

We request that the Finance Committee attach the Miners Protection Act of 2017 (S. 175) to the statutorily-required waiver needed for the nomination of Mr. Robert Lighthizer to be the United States Trade Representative. Attaching the Miners Protection Act to this waiver will help ensure quick action so that thousands of our nation’s coal miners no longer face the insecurity that comes with the loss of their hard-earned health and retirement benefits.

The Miners Protection Act is a responsible, bipartisan solution to a real problem facing the American people, and we look forward to working with you to find a path forward for this critical legislation.

###