McConnell urges coal-state Dems to back down

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate’s top Republican is seeking to turn the tables on the coal-state Democrats standing in the way of swift passage of a stopgap spending bill over health benefits for retired miners.

Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Friday the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress have waged a “war on coal” that has created economic hardships for miners.

The spending bill to keep the federal government operating through April is stalled in the Senate as Democrats facing re-election in 2018, including West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, are fighting for a one-year extension for the miners’ health benefits rather than the temporary, four-month fix in the bill.

Manchin has called the short fix “horrendous” and “inhumane.”

McConnell says the temporary extension is the best they’re going to get.

He says “this is a good time to take yes for answer.”

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