After years of blocking legislation to fund miners' pensions, Mitch McConnell suddenly is supporting one. He needs votes.
Hopefully Eastern Kentucky won't forget that in 2015, 2017 and 2019 Mitch blocked funding for miners' pensions and health care. In 2016 he blocked Obama's Power Plus Plan, a $1 billion effort to help Appalachia transition away from the dying coal industry. In 2018 he cut coal taxes in half — taxes that were helping struggling communities. In 2019 he diverted Treasury funds earmarked for Appalachian development in order to bankroll an aluminum plant financed by a previously sanctioned Russian oligarch.
He has eliminated regulations that protected workers against unsafe mining practice and communities against pollution. He is trying to eliminate health care and food stamps. He is blocking passage of bills that reduce medicine and health care costs.
Eastern Kentucky counties are the poorest in America. There are few jobs because coal, their only industry, is dying. Communities are plagued with opioid abuse. Roads are deteriorating. Once fresh water streams now run orange from acid runoff, and 1.4 million acres of Appalachian forests have been destroyed because of unregulated mining.
One can only conclude communities this poor, this unhealthy, this needy don't have good representation in Congress.