Bill Would Protect Miners’ Pensions
A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators and Representatives on Oct. 3 announced that they are introducing legislation to protect the pensions of retired miners. All hail from states where there is heavy mining activity.
Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) have introduced the Senate version of the American Miners Pension (AMP) Act
; Reps. David McKinley (R-WV) and Peter Welch (D-VT) have introduced the House version. The bills have not yet been assigned numbers.
In a press release from Manchin, the Senators say that the bill is intended to ensure that the 87,000 retired miners who receive pensions and an additional 20,000 who are vested do not lose their pensions. The AMP Act would:
- allow transfers of excess funds in the Abandoned Mine Land program to the 1974 United Mine Workers of America pension plan under the Miners Potection Act;
- direct the Treasury Department to loan the plan funds annually;
- cap the annual loan amount at $600 million and set the interest rate at 1%;
- require the fund to pay interest for the first 10 years and then pay back the principal plus interest over 30 years; and
- require the fund to certify each year that the plan is solvent and able to pay back the principal and interest.
“These miners earned their pensions through a lifetime of the hardest work imaginable. They did so safe in the knowledge that they would find it waiting for them down the road for support in their retired years. Let’s finish what we started and pass this fix to ensure our coal miners keep their hard-earned pensions,” say the Senators.