The Black Lung Benefits Disability Trust Fund has lost $22,400,000 since the excise fee supporting the fund was slashed at the end of 2021. At a January 14 press conference, leaders from the National Black Lung Association, Appalachian Voices and the Appalachian Citizens Law Center call on Congress to take immediate action to restore the fee supporting the Fund. The Fund provides benefits and life-prolonging health care coverage for miners disabled by this deadly disease. The excise fee supporting the Fund was cut by more than half when the Build Back Better bill failed to pass at the end of 2021. At the press conference regional representatives presented a letter signed by over 65 organizations calling on Congress to take action to restore the excise fee.
On January 20th, Rep Bobby Scott (VA) and Rep. Alma Adams (NC) introduced the Black Lung Benefits Disability Trust Fund Solvency Act of 2022 to extend the Coal Excise Tax for 10 years. They were joined by original cosponsors Rep. John Yarmuth (KY) and Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA). However the bill has not moved in Congress and the Fund is quickly moving towards insolvency.