UMW President Cecil Roberts said the legislation would "provide significant help to retired miners and widows whose health care is threatened."
"The Coal Mine Health Care and Pension Protection Act of 2013 will also provide security for the UMWA 1974 Pension Plan, which serves nearly 100,000 pensioners.
"I want to thank Representatives McKinley and Capito for introducing this bill and for their support of the retired miners, their spouses or widows, who through no fault of their own, currently face a loss of the health care they were promised and earned through lifetimes of service in America's mines," Roberts said.
Most Patriot retirees worked for Peabody Energy or Arch Coal during their mining careers but were transferred to Patriot after that new company was created in 2007.
In May, a federal bankruptcy judge ruled that Patriot could severely cut union-negotiated benefits for workers and retirees in an attempt to emerge from bankruptcy.
Other co-sponsors of the new House legislation include Reps. George Miller, D-Calif.; Jim Moran, D-Va.; Ed Whitfield, R-Ky.; Andy Barr, R-Ky.; Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio; Bill Johnson, R-Ohio; Mike Turner, R-Ohio; David Joyce, R-Ohio; Allison Schwartz, D-Pa.; Rodney Davis, R-Ill.; Bill Enyart, D-Ill.; Larry Buschon, R-Ind.; William Lacy Clay Jr., D-Mo.; and Steve Stivers, R-Okla.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., introduced similar legislation in the Senate in March, with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., as a co-sponsor.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.