The Senate Finance Committee voted 18-8 to pass the Miners Protection Act. Senator Mark Warner said in a statement, "Coal companies and the government made a promise to these miners many years ago that we would take care of them and their families after a lifetime of difficult, dangerous work." This is only the first step in a long congressional march as both sides of the aisle are looking for a solution "to the pending crisis in the United Mine Workers health and pension plan."
Several busloads of Southwest Virginia retired miners marched in Washington, D.C. earlier this month to encourage lawmakers to preserve the health care of workers by funding the pension plan first penned in 1974.
Officials with the United Mine Workers of America said the bill will likely be taken up in November following the national elections.