WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, a coalition of Senators fighting to protect the health and pensions of more than 120,000 retired coal miners nationwide announced their intent to use any means necessary to make sure that these workers and their families are protected. With 16,300 retired coal miners set to lose health care by Dec. 31, 2016 without Congressional action, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Mark Warner (D-VA) announced that they will block all attempts to pass legislation by unanimous consent in the Senate until the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) healthcare and pension shortfall is adequately addressed to give miners long-term certainty. By blocking other bills from sailing through with special privileges, the Senators hope to force House and Senate leadership to include the bipartisan mineworkers fix in the year-end spending package or allow an independent vote on the bill.
The Senators released the following joint statement:
“For several months, we have joined thousands of our states’ retired coal miners and their families to call for a vote on this bipartisan, paid-for bill. And for several months those calls have gone unanswered. These miners cannot wait another day and it’s up to us to protect what they’ve earned for a lifetime of dangerous, backbreaking work. We are confident this bill would pass on the floor and we demand action to provide long-term certainty for these miners.”