"WASHINGTON -- One coal-state senator has vowed to block a must-pass spending bill to keep the government open unless Congress approves a fix for a pension and health care fund for retired coal miners that faces default by the end of the month.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., told reporters Tuesday that a proposal by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, to include a temporary fix in a stopgap spending bill would not be good enough.
'I just want it fixed,' Manchin said.
The United Mine Workers of America health care and pension fund faces insolvency because of a string of coal-industry bankruptcies. Only 10,000 active workers remain to support more than 100,000 retirees, and many of those retired miners and their families depend on the benefits."