A new report says a bill to protect health care and pension benefits for about 120,000 retired coal miners would save money over the next decade.
The report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the bill would increase spending on health care and pension benefits by about $3 billion over the next 10 years. The cost would be offset by nearly $3.1 billion in new revenue generated by hiking customs fees on imported goods.
Supporters say the bill would save lives and honor a 70-year-old promise made by the federal government.
The measure has divided coal-state Republicans. Several Republican incumbents supported the bill during the fall campaign, but GOP leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, are wary of bailing out unionized workers.