UPDATE: Health care for miners extended under new spending plan


A brokered deal that avoids a government shutdown has also provided a break retired coal miners have been seeking for months.

A permanent solution to fund health care benefits for more than 22,000 miners was included in the $1 trillion spending plan that came out of a weekend of negotiations in U.S. Senate, according to information released by Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia on Monday. The House is expected to pass the bill on Wednesday.

The senator said the new plan "requires that the federal government and coal operators honor their obligation of health care benefits to retired miners and their families who are facing uncertainty as a result of the financial crisis and corporate bankruptcies."

Several miners from southwest Virginia traveled to Washington, D.C. last fall for a rally to plead their case to lawmakers for the benefits. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine met with members of the United Mine Workers of America in Castlewood last month to update the retired workers on negotiations to secure the funding.

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