Sens. Warner and Kaine introduce bill to protect 1974 UMWA pension plan

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WASHINGTON (WJHL) — Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced a bill Wednesday to protect retired coal miners’ pensions and health care benefits.

The Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019 would transfer excess funds from the Abandoned Mine Land Fund to the 1974 United Mine Workers of America Pension Plan to prevent it from becoming insolvent.

The senators say the UMWA plan is heading toward insolvency due to recent coal company bankruptcies and the 2008 financial crisis.

The legislation would also amend the Coal Act so that miners don’t lose their benefits due to coal company bankruptcies in 2018 and 2019.

The bill would protect the pensions of about 92,000 coal miners and healthcare benefits of 13,000 miners, according to Kaine and Warner.

The bill was also introduced by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).

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