More than 100,000 retired coal miners, future retirees and their families are encouraged about a breakthrough in congressional legislation to protect their pension and healthcare benefits.

U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin of West Virginia made the joint announcement of the Bi-Partisan American Miners Act of 2019 on Wednesday.

Sen. Capito said having Mitch McConnell be a co-sponsor was the key.

The bill is structured to use surplus funds in the Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Reclamation Fund to shore up the pensions of those UMWA retirees.

The plan also directs funds to save the healthcare of workers at Murray Energy after their company recently declared bankruptcy along with workers and retirees of now bankrupt Westmoreland and Mission Coal Companies.