Plan for securing miners’ pensions passes House

The Journal

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Washington, December 18, 2019 | comments

A measure intended to provide a permanent solution to shoring up coal miners’ pensions passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday and is expected to get a vote in the Senate Friday.

The Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019 was included in the final funding package to keep the federal government in operation beyond Friday, when current temporary funding measure expires. The spending bill is expected to have its vote in the Senate on Friday.

The amendment pertaining to miners’ pensions amends the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to transfer funds in excess of the amounts needed to meet existing obligations under the Abandoned Mine Land Fund to the 1974 Pension Plan to prevent its insolvency. It will also amend the Coal Act to include 2018 and 2019 bankruptcies in the miners’ health care fix that passed in 2017.

The overall spending bill was approved in the House by a vote of 297-120, with Reps. David B. McKinley, Alex Mooney and Carol Miller, all R-West Virginia, voting in favor. Also voting yes was Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio.

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