Today, Rep. David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-WV) along with the Reps. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Nick Rahall (D-WV) and 14 bipartisan colleagues introduced the Coal Mine Health Care and Pension Protection Act of 2013 (H.R. 2918). The bill would protect health care provisions and pensions that are impacted by the Patriot Coal Company.
"Over the past two and a half years, my staff and I have been working with United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) officials, miners, and retirees in an effort to protect healthcare and pension benefits for our miners," said Rep. McKinley. "After hearing the stories of what these men and their families face if they lose their benefits, it was clear that we had to find a solution."
"I am proud to join my West Virginia colleagues in introducing this legislation," said Rep. Capito. "We have worked diligently together to craft legislation that addresses the most pressing issues retirees are facing as a result of Patriot Coal Company's bankruptcy. These hardworking coal miners have dedicated their lives to providing electricity to the Mountain State and building its economy, and we cannot let them down. I will continue to fight for our coal miners and the retirees whose benefits are at risk."
"Coal miners risk their lives every day so we can have affordable electricity, and we must do everything we can do protect their livelihood and the benefits they have earned through years of hard work," added McKinley.
"The goals of this legislation, to ensure that our coalminers can access the benefits they were promised, are similar to those of the CARE Act which I introduced earlier this year and I am happy to lend my support to this bill as well," said Rep. Rahall. "This effort is about standing up for coal miners, their widows, and our coalfield communities. After a lifetime of labor, they have earned the right to retire and live in dignity and I refuse to stand idly by as our miners see the benefits they earned over a lifetime eroded by forces beyond their control. It's not fair. It's not right. And our miners deserve better."
"We're pleased to have the support of the UMWA," said Rep. McKinley. "This plan ensures that the promises made to these miners are kept, and is a solution that will stand up to legal challenges."