A $1 billion proposal to help struggling coal regions didn’t make it into a short-term federal spending bill, as backers had hoped.
The U.S. House did not include the measure in a plan to fund government operations through the end of April.
The bill, called the RECLAIM Act, would have accelerated the release of $1 billion from the federal abandoned mine land fund to finance mine-reclamation projects in ways that would boost the economy of Eastern Kentucky and other regions hurt by a sharp downturn in coal jobs.
U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, a Republican who represents Kentucky’s eastern coalfield, is a sponsor of the measure.
Rogers issued a statement Wednesday saying he was disappointed that the RECLAIM bill “didn’t make it across the finish line before the end of the year,” when the current Congress ends.
“Over the last eight years, we’ve lost more than 11,000 coal-mining jobs in Eastern Kentucky alone, and that same devastation has rippled across Central Appalachia,” Rogers said. “Our coal communities need assistance as they tirelessly work at the grassroots level to revitalize, diversify and rebuild.”
Rogers said he will keep trying to get the measure approved next year.
The stopgap spending measure will go the Senate after the House approves it.