Dear editor,

Mitch McConnell claims he supports coal miners. In 1946 the U.S. government agreed that because coal mining was so dangerous, union miners with 20 or more years would get lifetime pensions and health care. Coal companies were to pay into the fund. As coal companies closed, funds for miner's benefits dwindled.

In 2015 McConnell blocked a bill aimed at shoring up miners' pension and health care. That bill, the Miners Protection Act, directed $3 billion over 10 years into health care and pension funds for 89,000 union miners. Funding for the bill came from existing Abandon Mine Reclamation funds. McConnell blocked the bill because it only benefited union miners.

Backed by bipartisan support the Miners Protection Act was submitted again to Congress. Once again McConnell undermined the passage of the bill. He submitted a competing bill that supported health care for miners but omitted funding for miners' pensions. Additionally, passage of his bill was tied to rolling back federal regulations on the coal industry and was only a temporary funding. The Miners Protection Act was permanent funding.

McConnell is a friend to coal companies, not a friend to coal miners.

Margaret Groves


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