McKinley Urges the House Natural Resources Committee to Pass Miners Pensions Bill

“A promise made should be a promise kept”

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Washington, July 24, 2019 | comments

U.S. Representative David B. McKinley, P.E., (R-W.Va.) testified today during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing where he urged committee members to pass the Miners Pension Protection Act and provide retired miners and their families with the peace of mind they deserve.

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 covered by the United Mine Workers 1974 Pension Plan. This is the first hearing in the House aimed at fixing the looming insolvency of the pension plan. The text of the bill, H.R. 935, is available here.

“For the last six years, I have introduced legislation and led the fight on this issue. Today is a milestone – the first committee hearing in the house about the miners’ pension crisis. For too long Congress has ignored the blinking warning lights,” McKinley said. “If we let it go much longer, we risk more damage and costlier fixes. Congress can do the responsible thing pass this bill and solve this nagging issue.”


Click above to watch Rep. McKinley's testimony.

Click here to read Rep. McKinley’s full testimony

In less than three years, the UMWA’s pension fund will reach insolvency and pension benefits for more than 100,000 miners and their families will be at risk. The families and communities that depend on those pensions will be at risk as well. The Miners Pension Protection Act has 70 bipartisan cosponsors.

“More than seventy years ago a promise was made by the federal government to our miners. A promise made should be a promise kept," McKinley said. “These men and women deserve better. Congress should keep our promise and finally pass this bill.”

Rep. David McKinley(R-W.Va.) and UMWA President Cecil Roberts published an op-ed on the importance of protecting miners’ pensions in the Hill. To read the full op-ed click here  

To watch the full hearing click here.

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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