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From the Hill to the Mountains

Keeping the Full Promise to Our Miners

Two weeks ago, we finally passed a permanent fix that secured healthcare for more than 8,400 retired miners in West Virginia. Although this in itself is a huge victory, we’re still only halfway there to keeping the promise made to coal miners 70 years ago. Now, more than 26,000 retired miners’ pensions are on the line in West Virginia. We cannot waste any more time and that’s why I introduced the Miners Pension Protection Act last week, to secure the pensions that these miners have earned and paid for over a lifetime of backbreaking and dangerous work. 

Seventy years ago, President Harry Truman recognized the importance of the coal that our miners produced for this country and promised that the government would guarantee our brave coal miners’ benefits in return for their service. In turn, our coal miners propelled the American economy, ushered in decades of economic growth, started an energy boom that made the U.S. a superpower, and helped our nation to victory in two World Wars. This agreement was a sacred promise between worker and country, and it captured the very best of America. 

Just as I did to secure permanent healthcare, the Miners Pension Protection Act will be my highest priority and I will bring everyone together to get this done. I will be working with the West Virginia delegation, my Senate colleagues and the administration to pass this important legislation. And I will continue to stress how important these modest pensions are to our coal miners in my conversations with President Donald Trump and Vice President Pence. As we are working to pass the Miners Pension Protection Act, I know our retired miners will work with us just as hard as they did when their healthcare was going to be ripped away from them. The strength, energy and openness they displayed made the difference in getting a permanent healthcare fix and we couldn’t have done it without them sharing their deeply personal stories with lawmakers. 

Securing these healthcare benefits demonstrates what Congress can do when we work together and put partisan politics aside. It’s a philosophy that I have followed throughout my life in public service – in the West Virginia State Legislature, as your Governor, and now as your U.S. Senator. Members of Congress are here for one reason: to do what is right on behalf of the people we represent. West Virginia coal miners are among the hardest working people in America, and they have dedicated their lives to powering this nation and keeping it the strongest in the world. While we have more work to do to protect the pensions our miners earned, they will never again have to worry about their healthcare. 

We cannot allow for the issue of their pensions to be put off until the deadline only to kick the can down the road with a temporary extension. Our retired miners deserve better than to receive letters notifying them that they will no longer receive their modest pension, which many count on for survival. For most of these retired miners, their pension is the difference between paying the bills or being kicked out of their home, putting food on their tables or going hungry. I know my colleagues will stick by them this time just like they did with healthcare and I look forward to working with them to finally keep our full promise.


On the Road with Senator Manchin

Meeting with UMWA Miners

Last week, Senator Manchin met with United Mine Workers in Beckley to discuss his legislation, the Miners Pension Protection Act, which will secure the pensions of retired coal miners.

Capital High School Awards Ceremony

Senator Manchin addressed high school seniors at Capital High School's Scholarship Awards Ceremony on May 12. 

WV State Fittest School Challenge

Also last Friday, Senator Manchin addressed students participating in the Fittest School Challenge, which promotes the Healthy Lifestyles Act enacted by then-Governor Manchin to improve student health and combat childhood obesity.


Spotlight On...

Weston's Mountaineer Military Museum

The Mountaineer Military Museum in Weston features personal and historical items from the Korean, Vietnam and Civil War.

This museum honoring our nation's heroes became possible with the help of residents, the Lewis County Board of Education, and the Lewis County Commission.


Do you have a nomination for a Spotlight Feature? Click here to inform my office.


How May We Help You?

I truly appreciate the opportunity to hear from West Virginians. As your U.S. Senator, I am proud to be your voice with government agencies during your time of need. My goal is to provide top-notch customer service for every West Virginian who contacts me, or who may need help.  I have a team of caseworkers in each of my four offices to help you with matters of concern. While I have no direct jurisdiction in the administrative matters of any federal, state, or local agency, I welcome the opportunity to assist you with whatever problem you may be experiencing and ask that full consideration be given to your case.

Recently my office was able to help Blanch Benfield from Sophia, West Virginia.  Blanch’s late husband, George, worked in the coal mines for over 39 years and filed a federal Black Lung claim.  After George passed away, Blanch kept up the fight and appealed to the Department of Labor for five years before she received the award in November 2016. Four months later, Blanch had not yet received her benefits. My office was able to contact the Department of Labor successfully and urge them to release the funds to Blanch.   If you are a coal miner, or know of someone in need of assistance with Black Lung benefits, disability, healthcare or recognition, please let me know. 

Blanch Benfield from Sophia, West Virginia



To contact me, please click here to visit my website.  To learn more, call my office Toll Free at (855) 275-5737, email me,or find me on social media:


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