WASHINGTON, Sept. 6, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congress returns to Washington this week and among other issues, it will turn its attention to bills in both chambers designed to stabilize the pensions and retiree health benefits of retired coal miners. Communities across coal country are suffering through a depression as more than 50 coal companies have declared bankruptcy, payrolls have plummeted, and the price of coal has collapsed. If Congress doesn't act quickly, more than 22,000 retired miners or their widows will lose health care benefits early next year; and the pensions of more than 120,000 current and future retirees will be at great risk. The pension burden placed on the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation if the United Mine Workers of America plan was to fail would cause the PBCG itself to collapse.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Rep. David B. McKinley (R-WV) will discuss S. 1714, the Miners Protection Act of 2015, and H.R. 2403, the Coal Healthcare and Pension Protection Act at a National Press Club Newsmaker, Wed., Sept 7, at 10 am, in the club's Zenger Room. The Newsmaker will be moderated by National Press Club President Thomas Burr.
The day after the Newsmaker, on Sept. 8, 10,000 retired miners and their supporters are expected to travel to Washington from coal producing states for a rally outside the U.S. Capitol in support of the pending legislation.
The federal government pledged to guarantee health and pension benefits for miners in the Truman Administration, and every Congress and Administration since has honored that pledge when needed. The legislation redirects appropriated but unspent Treasury funds made available by Congress in 2006 to be used to make retirees and widows in Kentucky, West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Alabama whose health care was cut off as a result of recent coal industry bankruptcies eligible for health care coverage under the Coal Act. The legislation also provides that the remainder of the unspent appropriated funds would be applied to the UMWA 1974 Pension Plan to prevent that Plan's insolvency.
The National Press Club is located on the 13th Floor of the National Press Building, 529 14th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20045. As with all Newsmaker events, this news conference is open to credentialed media and Press Club members, free of charge. No advance registration is required.
Contact: Jamie Horwitz, NPC Newsmakers Chair, 202-549-4921, firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE National Press Club