May 09, 2019

Lawmakers, Miners Rally In DC For Pension Protection Legislation | The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito and Rep. David McKinley joined with other lawmakers from both sides of the aisle Wednesday morning to rally outside the Capitol once again for passage of legislation to protect coal minters’ pensions.

The 1974 Pension Plan is headed for insolvency due to coal company bankruptcies and the 2008 financial crisis. The lawmakers said the pensions – averaging just $500 per month – of 100,000 retirees are at stake.

“This should have been done over a year ago,” Manchin said. Referring to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, he said, “Put it on the table, Mitch. Let us vote.”

Capito said she recently talked to the wife of a 35-year miner. “She’s worried every single day this is not going to continue for her family.”

Supporters of both parties in both houses will keep pushing for passage, she said. “We will not stop until we get the right result. … The time certain of when this is going to become very devastating to our miners is creeping up on us.”

McKinley said this problem has been on the radar for years. There’s been a lot of talk, but no action.

“The UMWA did not cause this problem with their pension fund,” he said. It resulted from overregulation that led to mine closures and company bankruptcies. Miners were promised their pensions clear back in 1946.

“Promises made need to be promises kept,” he said.

Miners were at the Capitol all day, lobbying for passage of the legislation. Among them was UMWA President Cecil Roberts.

Following the recession and the coal company bankruptcies, he said, Congress bailed out banks at expense of miners. Bankruptcy judges forgave $4 billion in company liabilities and granted the executives millions in bonuses.

“What about the people who work for living in America,” he asked. “How about them for a change?”


By:  David Beard