WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate Finance Committee will take up the Miners Protection Act during its meeting scheduled for Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin tweeted the news Monday morning.

“I’m pleased @SenateFinance has finally announced a markup of the Miners Protection Act this Wednesday. This is long overdue.”

Manchin said last week there are 46 Democrats and eight Republicans in the Senate supporting the fix to the fund that has provided health care and pension benefits to retired miners and their widows.

Manchin and fellow Senator Shelley Moore Capito said last week that if Congress fails to keep the funding in place 23,000 miners and widows could lose benefits by next July. The free fall of the coal industry and company bankruptcies have reduced payments into the fund while the number of beneficiaries has grown.

The fix includes annually taking money from the Abandoned Mine Land Fund until the benefits fund is stabilized.

Thousands of miners, many of them from West Virginia, rallied outside the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago.

Wednesday’s finance committee meeting will begin at 10 a.m.

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