Report: Bill to protect miners' benefits would save money

Markets Associated Press

A new report says a bill to protect health care and pension benefits for about 120,000 retired coal miners would save money over the next decade.

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The report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the bill would increase spending on health care and pension benefits by about $3 billion over the next 10 years. The cost would be offset by nearly $3.1 billion in new revenue generated by hiking customs fees on imported goods.

Supporters say the bill would save lives and honor a 70-year-old promise made by the federal government.

The measure has divided coal-state Republicans. Several Republican incumbents supported the bill during the fall campaign, but GOP leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, are wary of bailing out unionized workers.