Moscow Mitch McConnell loathes his new sobriquet, possibly because it’s the one nickname that he’s truly earned, that hits the closest to the truth. Every week there’s a new revelation about something he’s done to further Russian interests over the nation’s, or even his own constituents’. Like this story from the Daily Beast detailing how this year McConnell has steered Treasury funds to that infamous Kremlin-connected aluminum mill being built in Kentucky while blocking Treasury funds from health care and pensions for coal miners there.
Before the August recess, McConnell blocked a measure sponsored by Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, to use fees the Treasury Department has collected from coal companies to secure coal miners’ pensions and health care plans. These are fees collected to mitigate the environmental and social damage mining has created in communities. Manchin wanted the excess funds in the pot to go the coal miners’ health and financial security. McConnell blocked his amendment, saying he wanted a more permanent fix instead. In a statement after McConnell killed his plan, Manchin said, “There are amendments that benefit Americans and West Virginians that are being blocked by one person: Mitch McConnell. […] He is the sole person that is blocking a vote on my amendment to … secure coal miners’ health care and pensions, even though it has bipartisan support and would better the lives of every West Virginian, Kentuckian and American.” When Joe Manchin is calling McConnell out by name, you know things have gotten extreme.
In part that’s because it’s much worse than just this one amendment that he blocked. McConnell has paved the way for $4 million in very similar Treasury money to build that Russian-backed aluminum plant in Kentucky. That money was part of a $90 million allocation to the Department of the Interior “to help three Appalachian states cope with the impact of a declining coal industry.” Pensions and health care for miners would qualify as something that kind of money should go to. Helping Russian oligarchs, not so much.