WV Lawmakers Introduce Bill that Protects Pensions of Retired Coal Miners

Coal Miners and Politicians standing side by side on Tuesday afternoon.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito started the press conference by saying, “The gentleman in the room, and all of the people that they represent, is indicative of some really strong, powerful stories about fairness. About promises made, and promises kept. They didn’t give up,”

The bipartisan group announced the introduction of the “American Miners Pension (AMP) Act.”  

“It’s time that we keep our promise. That’s all that we’re asking for. If we can keep the promise that we made… and it’s not the promise that we’re giving you something. It’s a promise that you’re going to get what you earned… what you worked for,” said Senator Joe Manchin.

The act would protect the pensions of retired coal miners whose benefits have been placed in jeopardy the last few years.

“We would work for less money in our contracts because we had the promise that our healthcare pension at the end of it, when we went to retire. If we don’t get a fix, which we had the promise for since 1946, we just want the government to live up to that promise and let us keep what we worked for. I’m not asking for a hand out… I’m asking for something that I worked day-in and day-out to earn,” said Rick Ryan, a West Virginia retired miner. 

It promises retirement benefits to more than 100,000 miners, especially the 27,000 West Virginia miners who need this to make ends meet.

“We all depend on our monthly pensions, which aren’t large, but we depend on them because that’s a way of life to support ourselves. Without them, there will be a drastic change in life,” Roger Marinmann, a retired Coal Miner, told us. 

This new bill will be funded by the excess funds that were meant for mine cleanups. Plus, the Treasury will be lending money to help supply the pension checks. 

“Because you made America great. You were the ones that fueled our nation that made us what we are today. We have to make sure that that promise that was made in 1946 is upheld. Just like we took care of healthcare, now let’s do it on pensions,” expressed U.S. Representative David McKinley. 

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