December 21, 2018

Manchin Votes Against Continuing Resolution

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released the following statement after voting against the continuing resolution because it guts the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund and doesn’t include a fix for miners’ pensions. 

“Today, I voted against the continuing resolution because it leaves behind our coal mining families. This bill guts the funding source for the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund by 55% and doesn’t include a much-needed pension solution for our miners. The Black Lung Disability Trust Fund is a lifeline for more than 25,000 sick and dying miners and their dependents. Not to mention that today, more and more miners are being diagnosed with Black Lung Disease which means funding is needed now more than ever. And unless Congress acts immediately, this already indebted trust fund will be more than $15 billion in debt by 2050.  We can’t lose this fight today because it only gets harder to save these miners. 

“To make matters worse, this continuing resolution doesn’t include a fix for our coal miners’ pensions. Without this fix, over 26,000 retired miners and widows in West Virginia will lose their modest pensions.  These checks average less than $600 a month and are relied upon to make ends meet. It’s a sad day in America when partisan politics penalize the people who did the most for this country and I will not stop until these failures of leadership are fixed. 

“Governing this way is embarrassing for both Democrats and Republicans. Today marks the third time Congress has voted for a short term solution to partially fund FY2019 instead of doing the hard work of creating a budget the American people can be proud of. Earlier this week, I allowed a clean CR to proceed because I was told it was the only thing that could pass and I got assurances that the cuts to the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund funding stream would be stopped. Clearly, that plan is clearly no longer credible. I was also told that miners’ pensions would be handled as soon as we got back. So I am taking a stand for our miners today.

 “Let me be perfectly clear: I support funding the border wall. I have voted for every border wall funding bill that has come before the Senate from $1.6 to $46 billion, and I will continue to support border wall funding. However, a bill that funds border security but devastates our brave mining families is a bad bill, and there is no rational reason we can't have both - border security and keeping our promise to miners. That is what I will continue to fight and vote for."