Durbin, Duckworth Bipartisan Act to Protect Miners Pensions, Health Care

By Jeremy Coumbes on December 18, 2019 at 5:35pm

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today announced that the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bill will protect miners’ pensions and health care coverage for retirees impacted by 2018 and 2019 mine bankruptcies.

The Bipartisan American Miners Act, included in the final funding package, secures lifetime health care benefits for 13,000 miners who would have lost their benefits entirely, and 92,000 miners who would have seen their pensions gutted next year without Congressional action. This includes pension benefits for more than 8,000 miners and health coverage for more than 1,000 miners in Illinois.

The Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019 will amend 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 act was sponsored in total by 12 Democrats and 3 Republicans including both Chris Van Hollen and Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.