February 26, 2018

Manchin Appointed to Bipartisan, Bicameral Committee to Solve Miners Pension Crisis

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) was appointed to a bipartisan, bicameral Joint Select Committee tasked with solving the pension crisis that is threatening more than 87,000 coal miners nationwide, including nearly 27,000 in West Virginia. The solution that the Committee produces will be guaranteed an expedited vote in the Senate with no amendments. The Committee was included as part of the overall budget agreement that was passed two weeks ago.

“In West Virginia we have nearly 27,000 coal miners that are facing uncertainty due to the impending loss of their hard-earned pensions and the creation of this joint committee is an important step in the right direction,” Senator Manchin said. “These miners earned their pensions through a lifetime of the hardest work imaginable. They did so safe in the knowledge that they would find these pensions waiting for them down the road to support them and their loved ones in their retired years. We must keep our promise and I look forward to working on the committee and with the UMWA to make sure we do.”

Senator Manchin has been fighting for a solution to the pension crisis for years through the Miners Protection Act and the recent American Miners Pension Act (AMP Act). The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) pension plans are currently on the brink of failure. If nothing is done to the plans, they will fail and retirees will face massive cuts to the benefits they earned over decades of work.

If UMWA pension plan is allowed to fail, not only will they no longer be able to pay promised benefits, but taxpayers would be at risk of having to pay billions because the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) would be on the hook for billions of dollars it cannot pay. PBGC is the arm of the federal government that insures pension plans. Last month, Senator Manchin asked the PBGC to provide information on the solvency of its Multiemployer Program in the face of this impending crisis.