McKinley’s Miners Pension Bill Advances Out of Committee

House Natural Resources Committee Passes Bipartisan Miners Pension Protection Act; Next Step Floor Action

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Washington, October 23, 2019 | comments

Today, Representative David B. McKinley’s (R-W.Va.) bipartisan legislation aimed at addressing the looming failure of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) 1974 Pension Plan passed out of committee with bipartisan support.

The Miners Pension Protection Act (H.R. 935) 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 UMWA Pension Plan. This bipartisan legislation has 89 cosponsors. The text of the bill, is available here.

“The window for addressing the looming insolvency of miners pensions is closing quickly. While I am thrilled that our pension bill has passed out of committee, we still need Speaker Pelosi to bring it to the House Floor for a vote,” McKinley said. “More than seventy years ago a promise was made by the federal government to our miners. These men and women deserve better and this Congress has a chance to provide them with the certainty they deserve.”

By 2022, the UMWA’s pension fund will reach insolvency and pension benefits for more than 100,000 miners and their families will be cut. The families and communities that depend on those pensions will be at risk as well.

Following the vote out of committee Rep. McKinley lead a bipartisan letter to Speaker Pelosi, urging her to take the bill to the floor quickly. Signers included all 9 original bipartisan co-sponsors:  Mike Bost (R-Ill.), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Conor Lamb (D-Pa.), Carol Miller (R-W.Va.), Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.), Donald Norcross (D-N.J.), and Peter Welch (D-Vt.).

“We have been leading this fight for six years in congress and it’s past time for Congress to act,” McKinley said. “We need to keep our promise to these miners, so they have peace of mind. Congress must act before the end of the year to address this issue once and for all”

Since 2013, McKinley has introduced bipartisan legislation to protect pensions for around 100,000 United Mine Workers Association (WMWA) retirees and family members. McKinley also lead the fight to protect healthcare benefits for 22,000 retirees whose benefits were threatened by bankruptcies. 

Background

  • In July 2019, McKinley testified in front of the House Natural Resources Committee Passes Bipartisan Miners Pension Protection Committee on the importance of this legislation. To watch his testimony, click here.
  • Rep. David McKinley(R-W.Va.) and UMWA President Cecil Roberts also published an op-ed on the importance of protecting miners’ pensions in the Hill. To read the full op-ed click here
  • In March 2019, McKinley spoke with coal-miners and supporters in Washington and call for legislative action to protect pensions for around 100,000 United Mine Workers Association (WMWA) retirees and family members. To view the full video of the press conference, click here
  • In July 2018, McKinley led a letter to the leadership of the Joint Select Committee on Multi-Employer Pension Plans, urging them to address the looming insolvency of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) 1974 Pension Plan. The bipartisan letter was signed by 25 Members of Congress. To read the letter click here.
  •  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.
  • In October 2017, Rep. McKinley introduced the American Miners Pension Act, legislation that would stabilize the UMWA 1974 Pension Plan.
  • 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.
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