Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., wants to give struggling coal communities a jolt of new federal investment and help transition out-of-work miners into new jobs and cleaner energy production.
Duckworth, considered a potential running mate for Joe Biden, introduced sweeping new legislation this month that gives Medicare coverage to laid-off coal workers, provides tuition-free college for coal workers and their families, calls for a $15 dollar minimum wage and modifies U.S. bankruptcy rules to require coal companies to pay for worker health care and pensions benefits.
“This is a future-forward bill that will take care of our coal miners and the legacy systems, but also realizes that there is real opportunity in coal country with the current coal miners and the coal industry to move us towards the future,” Duckworth said in an interview with Fox News.
There’s no cost estimate yet on her legislation, but Duckworth says it’s time to think big about the untapped economic opportunities in coal communities. She calls her proposal a Marshall Plan for Coal Country, a nod to the post-World War II investment program to rebuild war-torn cities, industries and infrastructure in Western Europe.
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