McConnell has blocked Senate consideration of a measure to ensure that more than 90,000 retired and disabled miners continue to receive their checks from the United Mine Workers of America health and retirement funds.
The retirement funds have been jeopardized by coal company bankruptcies.
A plan to keep the funds solvent almost made it through Congress late last year as part of a budget deal. McConnell, the senior senator from Kentucky and the Republican leader in the Senate, pulled the provision from the package, according to The Washington Post.
Sanders introduced a separate bill last year that would protect the pensions of mine workers and 1.5 million other workers throughout the country in troubled, multi-employer pension plans.
“We cannot allow the pension and retirement benefits of the United Mine Workers of America to be slashed,” Sanders said. “When a worker is promised a pension we have a responsibility to make sure that promise is not broken. Senator McConnell should drop his opposition to this deal and save the pension benefits of more than 90,000 coal miners in this country and he should do it now.”