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Clinton Recycles Black Lung Benefits Legislation She Failed To Back As A Senator

- November 12, 2015

Clinton’s New Plan For “Revitalizing Coal Communities” Includes Reform For “The Black Lung Benefit Program” Allowing Miners To Re-Open Cases

Clinton Promises “Sweeping Reforms To The Federal Black Lung Benefit Program,” In An Effort To “Empower Those Who Have Been Wrongfully Denied Benefits To Reopen Their Cases.” “Clinton supports sweeping reforms to the federal black lung benefit program to prevent coal company-funded doctors and lawyers from withholding evidence or willfully misdiagnosing patients in order to deny medical care to sick miners. She will empower those who have been wrongfully denied benefits to reopen their cases, help miners secure legal representation, and adjust black lung benefits to reflect cost of living changes.” (Press Release, “Hillary Clinton’s Plan for Revitalizing Coal Communities,” Hillary For America, 11/12/15)

Clinton’s Plan Would Work To Advocate For “Sick Miners Who Have Been Wrongfully Denied Coverage Under The Federal Black Lung Benefit Program.” “Her latest plan includes a vow to advocate on behalf of sick miners who have been wrongfully denied coverage under the federal black lung benefit program, and emphasizes the need to ensure that retired coal workers receive pension benefits from mining companies that in some cases have sought to abstain from those obligations after declaring bankruptcy.” (Sabrina Siddiqui, “Hillary Clinton Proposes $30bn Lifeline For Hard-Hit Coal Communities,” The Guardian, 11/12/15)

Clinton Had Opportunities To Provide The Same Benefits To Black Lung Survivors Multiple Times While In The Senate, But Failed To Co-Sponsor Legislation

In 2002, Senator John Rockefeller (D-WV) Introduced The Black Lung Benefits Survivors Equity Act Of 2002 In The Senate, Which Provided Protections To Survivors Of Black Lung Disease, Clinton Did Not Co-Sponsor. (S. 2685, Introduced 6/26/02)

  • The Black Lung Benefits Survivors Equity Act Of 2002, Would Have Removed A Provision That Forced Survivors Of Eligible Miners To Refile To Claim Their Rightful Benefits. “Black Lung Benefits Survivors Equity Act of 2002 - Amends the Black Lung Benefits Act, with respect to claims filed on or after the effective date of the Black Lung Benefits Amendments of 1981, to eliminate exceptions to: (1) the applicability of certain provisions regarding rebuttable presumptions; and (2) the prohibition against requiring eligible survivors of a miner determined to be eligible for black lung benefits to file a new claim or refile or otherwise revalidate the miner's claim.” (S. 2685, Introduced 6/26/02)

In 2004, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) Introduced The Black Lung Disability Trust Fund Debt Restructuring Act In The Senate, Which Provided Payments Of Benefits To Afflicted With Black Lung Disease, Clinton Did Not Co-Sponsor. (S. 2366, Introduced 4/29/04)

  • The Black Lung Disability Trust Fund Debt Restructuring Act Would Have Authorized The Secretary Of The Treasury To “Make Benefit Payments And Other Authorized Expenditures,” To Those Afflicted With Black Lung Disease. “Black Lung Disability Trust Fund Debt Restructuring Act - Requires the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, on a certain refinancing date, to pay the market value of the outstanding repayable advances, plus accrued interest, by transferring into the general fund of the Treasury specified amounts derived from proceeds from obligations issued to the Secretary of the Treasury and from an appropriation to the Trust Fund under this Act. Authorizes the Trust Fund to issue additional obligations to the Secretary if it is unable to: (1) repay those obligations issued in such initial repayment; or (2) make benefit payments and other authorized expenditures.” (S. 2366, Introduced 4/29/04)
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