Health benefits are the immediate concern as participants in the United Mine Workers of America 1974 (UMWA) Pension Plan are unlikely to see any significant cuts in their pensions primarily because the average retiree receives about $6,900 annually, far less than the PBGC guarantee, so even after exhaustion of all trust assets by 2025 the Mine Workers will likely have the PBGC continuing to pay most of their benefits (unless of course the PBGC itself goes belly-up by then too).
Yesterday S175 was introduced by Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.):
A bill to amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to transfer certain funds to the Multiemployer Health Benefit Plan and the 1974 United Mine Workers of America Pension Plan, and for other purposes.
Immediately following S176 was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell titled:
A bill to amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to transfer certain funds to the Multiemployer Health Benefit Plan, and for other purposes.
Both bills propose funneling money past April from the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund to pay health benefits to “orphaned” retired miners and their dependents left adrift by coal companies that have gone bankrupt. However S175 also wants the UMWA Pension Plan to get some money. The question is from where?
According to Politico.com:
Critics of Manchin’s bill have called it a government bailout, since it would fund the pension plan using money from the Treasury.