Sen. McConnell: ‘Protecting These Miners And Their Families … Has Been A Top Priority Of Mine’

Funding Bill Will ‘Ensure That Thousands Of Retired Coal Miners And Their Families … Will Not Lose Their Health Care Benefits’

SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “…this one-week extension will also ensure that thousands of retired coal miners and their families — including many in my home state of Kentucky — will not lose their health care benefits. Protecting these miners and their families from losing their health care has been a top priority of mine. Last year, I fought for a long-term extension of health benefits, and earlier this year, I introduced my own bill to provide a permanent fix for miner’s health care. I will continue to fight on their behalf to secure a permanent solution on this issue in the larger funding bill.” (Sen. McConnell, Floor Remarks, 4/28/17)

‘Sen. Mitch McConnell… Backs A Permanent Health Care Fix For Miners’

“Lawmakers are working on an agreement to extend the [health] benefits [for retired coal miners] in the spending bill that's currently being debated in Congress … Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is one of them. ‘It's my hope that that will be included in the final package,’ McConnell told reporters Tuesday.” (CNN, 4/27/2017)

  • “Coal miners and supporters in Congress rallied in front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning to help nudge legislation to save retired miners' health care over the finish line. Rep. David McKinley, who arranged the press conference sponsored by the United Mine Workers of America…. McKinley said he spoke with President Trump on Tuesday, and Trump is on board, as is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who sponsored a bill paralleling McKinley's to save the healthcare benefits.” (“Miners Rally For Benefits Breakthrough,” The [Morgantown, WV] Dominion Post, 4/27/2017)


In January, Sen. McConnell Introduced A ‘Long-Term Health Care Solution For These Retired Miners,’ Asked President Trump To Work With Lawmakers

SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Last year, I was proud to be able to secure an extension of these benefits past their year-end expiration date. ... I made a commitment at that time to work with my colleagues on a long-term health care solution for these retired miners. Today, I plan to introduce legislation to protect and permanently extend those benefits for thousands of coal miner retirees and dependents.” (Sen. McConnell, Press Release, 1/17/2017)

  • S.176 – HELP for Coal Miners Health Care Act of 2017 to provide a permanent fix for miners’ health benefits was introduced in January.

“McConnell asked Trump to work with lawmakers to ensure long-term health benefits for retired coal miners, including at least 16,500 who face a loss of benefits at the end of April.” (“McConnell Outlines Environmental Wish-List For Trump Action,” AP, 1/10/2017)

Last December, Sen. McConnell Insisted On Extending Coal Miners’ Health Benefits

SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “I’ve spoken with the Speaker [of the House] on a number of occasions about an issue facing coal miner retirees like those I represent in Kentucky, and have insisted that the CR include a provision to address that issue so these retirees don’t lose their health benefits at the end of the year.” (Sen. McConnell, Floor Remarks, 12/6/16)

“McConnell insists on extending coal miners’ health benefits in funding bill.” (“McConnell Insists On Extending Coal Miners’ Health Benefits In Funding Bill,” Morning Consult, 12/6/16).

“McConnell said Tuesday morning he would make sure that the government funding bill set to pass the House and Senate this week will include healthcare benefits for retired coal miners.” (“McConnell Promises To Take Care Of Coal Miners In CR, Washington Examiner, 12/6/16)

CECIL ROBERTS, International President Of The United Mine Workers Of America: “In December, Congress voted to extend life-saving health-care benefits for some 16,300 retired coal miners, their dependents and widows until the end of April. That includes some 3,000 in Kentucky. These senior citizens were facing a Dec. 31 cutoff of the benefits they had been promised and have earned. The four-month reprieve they received was welcome news to them and their families. I want to thank those who were responsible for this, including Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader. I noted his comments at the time in support of these retirees and I commend him for wanting to do more than just this four-month extension.” (Cecil Roberts, Op-Ed, “Keep The Promise To Retired Miners, Widows,” Herald Leader, 12/20/2016)


Related Issues: Health Care, Labor, Energy, Economy, Coal