A tale of two editorials
The Miners Protection Act
Yesterday, the New York Times published an editorial, "Retired Coal Miners Losing Their Safety Net," that supported the passage of the Miners Protection Act which would "bolster union health and retirement plans with an estimated contribution of $220 million a year." This afternoon's Wheeling News-Register's editorial supported the same bill. There the similarities end.
While both editorials tell us how this came to be, the reasons are different. The Times explains:
Their benefit plans have become severely underfunded during the industry’s downturn, as coal companies declare bankruptcy and renege on obligations to workers at a time when there are fewer young miners to contribute support.
Predictably, the News-Register blames the president:
In part because of Obama's war on coal and affordable electricity, a retirement system covering tens of thousands of active and retired miners is about to collapse.
Why hasn't the bill passed the Senate? The Times tells us that Democrats support the bill but Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is apparently against it:
The plan has firm support from Democratic senators, but its success is in serious doubt, given Mr. McConnell’s stance.
The News-Register points to a few nameless senators from an unnamed party:
But a few senators are blocking the bill. Their concern is that it would cover only unionized miners. Those who were not part of the United Mine Workers would not be covered.
That is a valid concern. Both classes of miners deserve and should get help.
That is no reason to kill the current bill, however.
Regular readers of Wheeling "newspapers" can imagine (it won't take much effort) how the News-Register's editorial might be different if (1) the Democrats were opposed to this bill, or (2) President Obama had threatened to veto the final bill. That isn't the case, however. Democrats whole-heartedly support the bill and it's the Republican Majority Leader who is the obstructionist. Consequently, the editorial's blame goes to a "few senators" much like it was West Virginia's legislature rather than West Virginia's Republicans (who held a majority in both chambers) that couldn't pass a budget earlier this year.
Note -- as is sometimes the case with the afternoon editorials, there is no link because the News-Register editorial is not on the website.