[Ed. – No mumble-dy-gook on this, Congress. What gives? These men’s pensions, and health insurance, aren’t threatened by bad management. They’re threatened because Obama has been systematically killing off the whole industry. That’s what federal pension-support programs are FOR. It’s the best thing those programs can possibly be for: buffering workers who did everything they were supposed to, against changes in government policy that affect their livelihoods. Get on the stick.]
A pension fund for thousands of retired coal miners faces insolvency by the end of December, and Congress is running out of time to make the fix.
In September, the Senate Finance Committee approved the Miners Protection Act by 18-8. But neither the full Senate nor the House of Representatives has taken up the bill.
With the clock ticking, 22 senators from both parties wrote Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on Tuesday to urge the bill’s passage.
Retired miners have already received notices that their health care benefits would end.
“During the month of October, approximately 12,500 of our nation’s retired coal miners received notices informing them that their healthcare benefits will be terminated at the end of this year,” the senators wrote. “On November 1st, another 3,600 miners began to receive notices. And next year, 6,500 more will suffer the same fate.”
The United Mine Workers of America’s pension plan is underfunded because the number of retirees now far exceeds the number of active workers as union mining jobs have declined along with a general downturn in the coal industry.