Throughout the campaign, President-elect Trump bashed the countless regulations imposed by the Obama administration on the nation’s coal industry. Thousands of miners have lost their jobs and thousands more risk losing their health insurance. The Democrats in Congress are now taking a surprising move related to these miners.
Red State reported that Democrats in the Senate are floating the idea of a temporary government shutdown if a stop gap spending bill does not include a provision regarding the mining industry. The bill has already passed overwhelmingly in the House.
The Washington Post reports that “Senate Democrats are threatening to force a brief government shutdown this weekend to pressure Republicans to support policies they say match promises President-elect Donald Trump made on the campaign trail to help coal country and boost American manufacturers.”
The stop gap spending bill must be passed by the end of the day Friday or a shutdown will occur. The measure is only intended to keep federal agencies funded for approximately four months. While “Democrats are not threatening to block the spending measure,” they are hoping to force Republicans to further negotiate throughout the weekend.
The movement is being led by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) who political pundits already claim will face a tough reelection bid in 2018. It includes a temporary reprieve for miners and their families who risk losing their health insurance.
Coal mining jobs have decreased significantly in recent years in part due to advanced technologies that require fewer people to do the same job and also due to increased federal regulations on the industry.
Red State pointed out that the timing of this Democratic stand is questionable. These are not new problems and the Democrats did nothing to address these issues when they controlled Congress. The predominant assumption appears to be that Democrats are trying to accomplish two tasks. They want to support Manchin in hopes of suring up his seat in 2018, and they want to challenge Republicans to either support or deny one of President-elect Trump’s campaign promises before his inauguration.
“The Democrats are really trying to provoke a fight between Donald Trump and the GOP, particularly in the Senate,” Red State asserted. “The miners are entirely a secondary issue.”