On December 18, the United States Senate approved the Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019, introduced by U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), to protect pension benefits for coal miners and their families. The senator secured their bipartisan bill in the Fiscal Year 2020 government-funding agreement, which now goes to President Donald Trump for his signature.
“As Senate Majority Leader, I personally told President Trump and my Congressional colleagues that this was a top priority for me and for thousands of Kentuckians in need,” said Majority Leader McConnell. “I’m proud the Senate approved legislation today including our Bipartisan American Miners Act to help Kentucky coal miners, retirees, and their families.”
The Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019 will secure funding for the 1974 miner Pension Plan to prevent its insolvency. The bipartisan bill also expands the existing health care benefits provided under Sen. McConnell’s HELP for Coal Miners Health Care Act of 2017 to the orphaned coal miners whose benefits have been put in jeopardy due to recent coal company bankruptcies. These actions will secure the pensions of 92,000 coal miners and protect health care benefits for 13,000 miners.
Sen. Manchin said they kept their promise to these coal miners and added, “Coal miners are the most patriotic people in America. They have done the heavy lifting. They have done everything that has been asked of them by this country. They provided the energy that made us the greatest country on earth. The super power of the world.”
The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) President Cecil E. Roberts, applauded the Senate’s passage of the bill. “Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s support was crucial to passing this legislation, and on behalf of America’s retired coal miners I thank him for his efforts to ensure this became a reality. We will never forget it. Once this legislation is signed by the President, Congress will have saved the lives of thousands throughout America.”