Durbin, Duckworth Help Secure Illinois Miners' Pensions And Health Care Coverage In Year-End Funding Bill

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today announced that the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bill will protect miners’ pensions and health care coverage for retirees impacted by 2018 and 2019 mine bankruptcies. The Bipartisan American Miners Act, included in the final funding package, secures lifetime health care benefits for the 13,000 miners who would have lost their benefits entirely and the 92,000 miners who would have seen their pensions gutted next year without Congressional action.  This includes pension benefits for more than 8,000 miners and health coverage for more than 1,000 miners in Illinois. 

“For nine thousand retired coal miners in Illinois, we have protected their pensions and health care. This bipartisan effort was their only hope,” Durbin said.

“Thousands of mineworkers across Illinois have worked in difficult and dangerous conditions to provide a good life for their families and I’m pleased that this bipartisan effort delivers on our promise to secure their earned health care and pension benefits,” Duckworth said.

The Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019 will amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to transfer funds in excess of the amounts needed to meet existing obligations under the Abandoned Mine Land fund to the 1974 Pension Plan to prevent its insolvency. It will also amend the Coal Act to include 2018 and 2019 bankruptcies in the miners’ health care fix that passed in 2017.

The Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019 is also co-sponsored by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Rob Portman (R-OH), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Tom Carper (D-DE).