Davis Statement on Health Care Fix for Miners in Next Spending Bill
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) released this statement after a provision to protect retired miners’ health care benefits was added to the continuing resolution, a bill to fund the federal government. Many retired miners will lose coverage on December 31, 2016 without congressional action. The provision is authorized through April 28, 2017. The House is expected to vote on this bill tomorrow.
“While I am disappointed that we are not voting on a permanent solution that ensures both health care and pension promises to miners are kept, having this provision in the continuing resolution ensures miners will not lose their health care benefits at the end of the month,” said Davis. “This gives us time to work with the Trump administration to pass the Coal Health Care and Pension Protection Act, which I believe is the best way to protect miners’ hard-earned pensions and health benefits.”
Pension and health care benefits for retired miners and their families are in jeopardy because the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) 1974 Pension Plan is underfunded. Financial losses in 2008 and EPA overregulation forcing many mines to close have left these funds insolvent. There are currently only 10,000 active workers to support 120,000 retirees.
Davis is a cosponsor of the Coal Health Care and Pension Protection Act, a bill to transfer funds from the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Trust Fund, which contains roughly $400 million set aside to clean up abandoned mines, to address the pension and health care benefits shortfall.