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Pa's senior U.S. senator applauds spending plan for saving miners' health care

Written by Rachel McDevitt | May 4, 2017 3:47 PM
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FILE PHOTO: Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn., speaks during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July 25, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Harrisburg) -- Congress has passed a bill to fund the federal government through September.

The five-month plan offers a permanent health care fix for retired coal miners in Pennsylvania and across the country.

Pennsylvania's senior U.S. senator is applauding the move, but says more work needs to be done.

Health care benefits were set to expire at the end of April for nearly 2,000 retired coal miners and their families in Pennsylvania and thousands more in other states.

For months, Democratic Senator Bob Casey has been pushing for passage of the Miner Protection Act, which he co-sponsored with West Virignia Senator Joe Manchin. The bill would have created dedicated funding for healthcare and pensions.

In the past, Casey has said it's a straightforward issue.

"This is really simple. This is not complicated. This is about a promise; whether or not we're going to keep our promise to these families."

On top of health insurance, nearly 13,000 Pennsylvania miners are at-risk of losing their pensions.

Casey says he won't stop the fight until they receive protection as well.

President Donald Trump has said he will sign the spending bill, though Casey said Trump has not indicated whether he supports a pension fix.

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