WV & KY Republicans Sponsor Patriot Legislation

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- The United Mine Workers of America is thanking three Republicans for sponsoring federal legislation to secure health care benefits for workers and retirees hurt by Patriot Coal's bankruptcy.

Reps. David McKinley and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia took criticism Tuesday as thousands of miners rallied in Fairmont to protest cuts that St. Louis-based Patriot says it must make to survive.

The same day, the pair joined Republican Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky in sponsoring the Caring for Coal Miners Act. It would use existing coal revenues to help offset health care costs.

Democrats have already introduced bills supporting the miners. U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller sponsored the Coalfield Accountability and Retired Employee Act.

UMWA President Cecil Roberts said Wednesday he'll work with any party willing to do right by miners.

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