WASHINGTON — U.S. Reps. David McKinley, R-W.Va., and Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., helped introduce legislation Thursday on a solution for funding coal miners’ pensions.
The announcement comes two weeks after legislation was introduced in the Senate to address the same issue.
While little is known about the House of Representatives’ version of the Miners Pensions Protection Act at the time of publication, a statement from Jenkins’ office said the legislation “builds on the recent permanent fix of miners’ health care benefits.”
Congress passed a $1.2 trillion resolution on May 4 to fund the government through September. The bill also included a permanent fix for funding health care for more than 22,000 coal miners and their families.
A solution for funding miners’ pensions was not reached, meaning more than 120,000 miners, retirees and their widows would lose their benefits if a plan is not reached.
“Our coal miners have worked tirelessly for decades to power this great nation,” McKinley said in a statement. “They never forgot how important their work was and now it’s up to us not to forget them. This legislation will protect the pension benefits that our miners have already earned.”
McKinley also serves as chairman of the Congressional Coal Caucus.
“For the miners who are no longer with us, they trusted that the benefits they earned would provide for their wives after they were gone,” Jenkins said in a release.
The Senate introduced its Miners Pension Protection Act on May 11. The bill would transfer excess funds from the Abandoned Mine Land fund to fund the 1974 United Mine Workers of America Pension Plan.
U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., introduced the legislation and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., cosponsored the bill.