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Bipartisan bill aims to provide job help for displaced coal miners

Four U.S. congressmen reintroduced legislation Jan. 24 to expand retraining opportunities for dislocated coal miners. The congressmen are Reps. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va.; Mike Doyle, D-Pa.; Tim Ryan, D-Ohio; and Peter Welch, D-Vt.

The Assisting America's Dislocated Miners Act of 2017 would establish a Dislocated Miners Assistance Program within the U.S. Labor Department to identify dislocated miners, assess their skills and training, identify job training programs, and provide grants to job training providers. The bill would also authorize $20 million a year for five years to fund the program.

"While we fight to restore coal jobs in West Virginia and Appalachia, we must also provide for the miners who are out of work and for their families," Jenkins said in a news release. "My legislation will give our coal families hope and the promise of a paycheck, not an unemployment check."

"As our energy sector evolves, it is our responsibility, not our choice, to make sure that miners in Ohio and across the country who have worked so hard are not left behind," Ryan said in the release.

The bill was referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Jenkins introduced a similar bill in the previous session of Congress, but it died in subcommittee.