Sen. Mitch McConnell claims he supports coal miners.
In 1946, the U.S. government agreed that because coal mining was so dangerous, union miners with 20 or more years would get lifetime pensions and health care. Coal companies were to pay into the fund. As coal companies closed, funds for miners’ benefits dwindled.
In 2015, McConnell blocked a bill aimed at shoring up miners’ pension and health care. That bill, the Miners Protection Act, directed $3 billion over 10 years into health care and pension funds for 89,000 union miners. Funding for the bill came from existing abandoned-mine reclamation funds. McConnell blocked the bill because it only benefited union miners.
With bipartisan support, the Miners Protection Act has again been submitted. Once again McConnell is attempting to undermine passage of the bill. He has submitted a competing bill which supports health care for miners but omits funding for miners’ pensions.
Additionally, passage of his bill is tied to rolling back federal regulations onthe coal industry and is only a temporary fix. The Miners Protection Act is a permanent fix.
For McConnell to tout that he is a friend to coal miners is more than disingenuous.