Why am I hearing about coal miner benefits?

There was a lot of talk during the 2015 end-of-year funding debate about coal miner health benefits. Congress extended the Miners Protection Act through April 28 — authorizing temporary health care and retirement benefits for miners with at least 20 years of experience (impacting approximately 20,000 retired coal miners).

While Congress doesn’t often single out a particular group for special benefits, there are other examples. For example, Medicare covers costs to treat end-stage renal disease for people of any age. Trade adjustment assistance (TAA) programs have provided health subsidies and retraining for people whose jobs were displaced by trade agreements.

If Congress does not act before April 28, the benefits will end.

Related legislation:

  • S. 176 from Sen. Mitch McConnell [R, KY]
  • S. 175 from Sen. Joe Manchin [D, WV]