July 25, 2018

ICYMI: Manchin Defends UMWA Pensions in Committee Hearing

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) participated in a hearing of the Joint Select Committee on the Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans where he questioned Mr. James P. Naughton, Assistant Professor and Donald P. Jacobs Scholar, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University; Mr. Joshua D. Rauh, Ph.D, Director of Research and Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; Mr. Kenneth Stribling, Retired Teamster; and Mr. Timothy P. Lynch, Senior Director Government Relations Practice, Morgan, Lewis, and  Bockius LLP.

“There is a responsibility here. We have real people, real people’s lives, real people’s families right now. We didn’t hesitate on the banks, didn’t hesitate on the auto industry or anything else with large corporate stockholders involved. We came to their aid overnight. If we’d have done what we asked for with the Abandoned Mine Land money, we’d be out of this. But we’re not and there is no way to fix it now unless we have some assistance. We need solutions. I don’t know what kind of sacrifice we can ask our miners to make. We can’t say, ‘You’re making $582 a month, can you give us something back?’ That’s ridiculous,” Senator Manchin said.

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s questioning, click here.

Senator Manchin also submitted to the record a letter to Co-Chairs Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) from United Mine Workers President Cecil E. Roberts.

“The retirees did not create these problems. Yet here we are. Legislation is now the only option to prevent insolvency of the 1974 Plan. We can’t invest our way out of the problem, nor cut our way out, nor contribute our way out,” President Roberts said in part.

To read President Roberts entire letter, click here.

The Joint Select Committee was created as part of the overall budget compromise that passed in February. The committee is instructed to report a bill by the last week of November, and will be required to hold at least five public meetings, including three hearings so that members of Congress can hear directly from retirees, workers and businesses affected by the pension crisis. The solution that the committee produces is guaranteed an expedited vote in the Senate without amendments.