McKinley Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Miners Pensions

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WASHINGTON, D.C. , January 31, 2019 | comments

U.S. Representative David B. McKinley, P.E., (R-W.Va.) introduced bipartisan legislation today aimed at addressing the looming failure of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) 1974 Pension Plan and protecting benefits for retired miners and their families.

The Miners Pension Protection Act provides a solution to maintain funding for the pension plan and protect benefits for the more than 100,000 retired coal miners and their families currently covered by the UMWA Pension Plan. The text of the bill, H.R. 935, is available here.

“Miners put their lives on the line every day to produce the energy that powered our nation’s economic engine,” Rep. McKinley said. “We need to keep our promise to them, so they have peace of mind and certainty for the future. The time is now to find a solution that ensures the benefits miners earned and are counting on aren’t threatened.”

“For generations, coal miners have risked their lives to keep homes warm, lights on, and factories powered,” Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) one of the original cosponsors said. “We have a moral obligation to ensure that their hard-earned pensions are there when they retire.”

“The UMWA plan is projected to be insolvent by 2022 or sooner. We have been leading this fight for six years in congress and it’s time for Congress to act,” Rep. McKinley said. “The clock is ticking. We need to act soon and avoid this looming crisis.”

This bill is an updated version of bills introduced in the previous Congresses including H.R.2713 in the 115th congress.

The Miners Pension Protection Act has bipartisan 9 original cosponsors including: Mike Bost (R-Ill.), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Connor Lamb (D-Pa.), Carol Miller (R-W.Va.), Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.), Donald Norcross (D-N.J.), and Peter Welch (D-Vt.).

Background

Since 2013, Rep. McKinley has introduced bipartisan legislation to protect pension and healthcare benefits for retired miners every Congress.

  • In May 2017, Rep. McKinley helped secure permanent funding to save the health care benefits for retired miners. As a result, 22,000 retired coal miners and their families were able to maintain their health benefits.
  • In October 2017, Rep. McKinley introduced the American Miners Pension Act, legislation that would stabilize the UMWA 1974 Pension Plan.
  • In February 2018, Congress formed the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multi-Employer Pension Plans, a committee designated to find a funding solution for the looming multi-employer pension crisis. The Select Committee failed to produce a proposal.

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