Mitch McConnell claims he supports coal miners.

In 1946, the U.S. government agreed that because coal mining was so dangerous, union miners with 20 or more years would get lifetime pensions and health care. Coal companies were to pay into the fund. As coal companies closed, funds for miner's benefits dwindled.

In 2015, McConnell blocked a bill aimed at shoring up miners pension and health care. That bill, the Miners Protection Act, directed $3 billion over 10 years into health care and pension funds for 89,000 union miners. Funding for the bill came from existing Abandon Mine Reclamation funds. McConnell blocked the bill because it only benefited union miners.

In 2017, the Miners Protection Act was submitted again to Congress with bipartisan support. Once again McConnell undermined the passage of the bill. He submitted a competing bill that supported health care for miners but omitted funding for miner's pensions. Additionally, passage of his bill was tied to rolling back federal regulations on the coal industry and the funding was only good for a few years. The Miners Protection Act was permanent funding.

For McConnell to say he is a friend to coal miners is more than disingenuous.

Margaret Groves


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