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Manchin-Schumer Deal Revives Black Lung Tax That Expired

Sen. Manchin's Office
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin speaks at the West Virginia Veterans Memorial in Charleston.

A deal reached between U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer revives a tax that supports coal miners with black lung disease.

On Jan. 1, the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund excise tax dropped by 50 percent. That’s because Congress allowed a higher tax rate on each ton of coal mined to expire.

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, introduced late Wednesday by Manchin and Schumer, would make the higher tax rate permanent.

The trust fund supports more than 4,000 miners and their families in West Virginia and paid out $149 million in benefits in 2021.

“It’s something we have an obligation and a responsibility as a country to make sure the people who provide the energy that kept this country where it is today, made us the superpower of the world, at least fulfill our promise to take care of them,” Manchin said Thursday in a Zoom call with reporters.

The bill will require the support of all Senate Democrats and a majority in the House of Representatives to become law.

The Black Lung Disability Trust Fund is in debt. Meanwhile, miners are developing severe disease and dying younger.

Energy & Environment Reporter, ctate@wvpublic.org, 202-679-8470, @tatecurtis

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