Senate

Senate fight over miners’ heathcare boils over

Democrats blocked a slate of bills on Wednesday evening as a fight over miners spilled onto the Senate floor. 

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) attempted to get unanimous consent to pass 10 bills as the Senate tries to wrap up its work for the year, including a resolution remembering the Pearl Harbor attack and an animal cruelty bill. 
 
{mosads}But Democrat Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.) objected as they try to get a deal on healthcare for coal miners and their families.
 
“I will continue to object to any unanimous consent on legislation until the [continuing resolution] includes a permanent, long-term solution for our miners’ healthcare as included in the Miners Protection Act,” Manchin said. 
 
Manchin is also floating that he will slow walk, and potentially block, the short-term spending bill, or continuing resolution (CR), ahead of Friday night’s deadline to fund the government. 
 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said this week that he “insisted” the House include a four-month extension of healthcare for thousands of miners and their families. Without congressional action, they will lose the benefits at the end of the year.
 
But Brown shot back that McConnell shouldn’t get credit for the move. 
 
“I think my Republican friends are kind of missing the point here. That to give the majority leader credit for fixing this when, number one, he wouldn’t do it, he wouldn’t do it, he wouldn’t do it, he wouldn’t do it,” Brown said. 
 
Brown also appeared visibility frustrated as Tillis continued to ask for unanimous consent requests, arguing McConnell was “sending his people to the floor to find ways to push back against the mine workers.” 
 
Manchin noted that the House, not Senate GOP leadership, is currently the holdup on getting a longer healthcare deal included in the CR. 
 
But the Democrats are threatening to keep their colleagues in session through Christmas to get a deal. 
 
Tillis argued that Democrats weren’t putting a blanket ban on fast-tracking legislation after Manchin initially declined to object to legislation from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) aimed at reducing children in foster care. 
 
“We have an inconsistency here,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to get to.”
 
Manchin noted he didn’t object because he was allowing Tillis to block the bill. When Tillis tried to pass it a second time, Brown objected. 
 
The Senate also confirmed a slate of military promotions on Wednesday evening.
Tags Joe Donnelly Joe Manchin Mitch McConnell Ron Wyden Sherrod Brown Thom Tillis
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