Congress still takes no action to keep America’s promise to retired miners and widows

[TRIANGLE, VA.] United Mine Workers of America International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement on Thursday:

“We are extremely disappointed that, as it was agreeing to a $1.1 trillion spending bill and another $650 billion in tax breaks for a variety of corporate interests, Congress could not find a way to live up to our nation’s promise to preserve retirement security for tens of thousands of retired coal miners, their dependents and widows.

“We can only ask why? What is it about these senior citizens Congress doesn’t like? They spent decades putting their lives and health on the line every day, providing the raw material our nation used to become the strongest, most powerful nation on earth. Many paid the ultimate sacrifice, either being killed in our nation’s mines or contracting black lung disease and dying a slow, choking, painful death.

“It is simply immoral to deny them or their widows the benefits they were promised and that they earned.

“I want to thank those members of Congress of both parties who did fight so hard on our behalf , especially the legislative sponsors: Sen. Joe Manchin (D- W.Va.) and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) in the Senate; and Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) in the House of Representatives. Many, many more Senators and Representatives co-sponsored the legislation and spoke out on our behalf both publicly and behind the scenes.

“Our fight is not over. We will continue to work with the sponsors and co-sponsors to pass the legislation – S. 1714 in the Senate and H.R. 2403 in the House – that will fulfill the promise made to coal miners and their widows by President Harry S. Truman in the White House in 1946, and confirmed by presidents and congresses of both parties ever since.”

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