Scott Rallies with Virginia Coal Miners to Push Congress to Protect Pension and Health Benefits
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), the Ranking Member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, joined United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) President Cecil Roberts, and thousands of retired coal miners and their families, including hundreds from Southwest Virginia, for a rally to push Congress to pass the Coal Healthcare and Pensions Protection Act (H.R. 2403/S. 1714).
The legislation would ensure that UMWA retirees who lose health care benefits following the bankruptcy or insolvency of his or her employer are eligible for an existing benefit plan established by the Coal Act that provides health benefits to retired or disabled benefits. Some retirees of companies that went bankrupt recently will lose their promised health benefits at the end of the year.
The legislation would also shore up the UMWA 1974 Pension Plan, which as a result of the 2008-2009 financial crisis and bankruptcy courts allowing companies to withdraw from the plan, is projected to become insolvent within the next decade – jeopardizing the hard earned retirement benefits of thousands of retirees in Virginia.
Congressman Scott is a cosponsor of the legislation. The proposal has also been included in President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2016 and Fiscal Year 2017 budget requests.
“Congress cannot delay action on the Coal Healthcare and Pensions Protection Act any further,” stated Congressman Scott. “These men and women have earned these benefits and we cannot hang them out to dry by our inaction. My colleagues who call themselves ‘friends of coal’ also need to be ‘friends of coal miners’ and join this bipartisan coalition of members of Congress and bring this bill up for a vote immediately.”
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