The Senate Finance Committee is expected to vote this week on a bill to provide some relief to the Trump Administration for the coal industry, a bill that could help the president avoid a potentially devastating federal coal industry bailout.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is a leading critic of the bailout and said he would be willing to negotiate with the Trump White House on the bill.
“I think there’s a good deal,” Paul told reporters Thursday.
“I don’t want to talk about a total deal, but we could negotiate some changes.
I think we should try to make it as fair as we can.”
A bill by Sen. David Vitter, R.I., and Sen. Tom Cotton, R.-Ark., would provide $500 million in financial assistance to companies that have closed and are in bankruptcy.
Vitter said he believes the coal bailout is “a very good deal” for the U.S. coal industry.
“This is a program that was designed to be a stimulus, not a bailout, and it was intended to help coal companies and it has, but it’s also been designed to bail out a lot of people,” he said.
“The coal industry is the backbone of the U,S., economy and it is not in great shape, so it’s very important to make sure that we don’t bail out any one company,” Vitter said.
The bill is not the only relief to be sought by Trump, who is seeking $1 trillion in relief for the economy.
The president has also called for $1.2 trillion in tax relief to help the coal mining industry.
But he’s not going to do it alone.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Thursday sent a letter to the White House urging it to give the administration $1 billion to assist coal companies.
That letter said Trump “needs to act now to ensure that his promise to ‘get tough’ on illegal immigration is realized.”
“We are hopeful that the Trump team will consider this bipartisan letter to help advance the administration’s plan for helping coal miners,” the letter said.