Chair's Press


Harkin Statement on Ongoing Republican Attacks on the National Labor Relations Board

WASHINGTON--Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, issued the following statement in response to the House Education and Workforce Committee's passage of a bill to prevent the National Labor Relations Board from conducting its work: "This bill is just the latest front in the longstanding Republican war on workers' rights," Harkin said. "It is important to remember that it is the Republicans' refusal to act responsibly and conf… Continue Reading


Sen. Harkin, Rep. DeLauro Introduce Healthy Families Act to Allow Workers to Earn Paid Sick Days

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) today reintroduced the Healthy Families Act, legislation that would allow workers to earn paid sick leave to use when they are sick, to care for a sick family member, to obtain preventive care, or to address the impacts of domestic violence. "A full forty percent of private-sector American workers have no access to paid sick days- meaning that they cannot miss a day of work without risking a day's pay or even their job. W… Continue Reading


Harkin Statement on Nomination of Thomas Perez to Serve as U.S. Secretary of Labor

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement today on the nomination of Thomas Perez to serve as the U.S. Secretary of Labor. "I am pleased that President Obama has nominated Thomas Perez to serve as our next Secretary of Labor, a vitally important part of the Cabinet. As the former Maryland Secretary of Labor and as the current Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Mr. Perez has served as… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) At the HELP Committee Hearing: “Keeping up with a Changing Economy: Indexing the Minimum Wage”

"For several years now I have held hearings focusing on the need to bolster the middle class in this country and restore the American Dream. The American Dream is supposed to be about building a better life. If you work hard and play by the rules, you should be able to support your family, join the middle class, and build a brighter future for your children. "But today, tens of millions of hardworking Americans who are earning at or near the minimum wage can't even aspire to live a middle cl… Continue Reading


Harkin Statement on President Obama Signing PAHPA Reauthorization Into Law

WASHINGTON-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement after President Obama signed into law the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013, a bill he sponsored and helped move through the Senate in his role as Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee: "I am pleased that this critical update of PAHPA is now law. As often as we hear about gridlock in Congress, the enactment of PAHPA is an example of a successful biparti… Continue Reading


Harkin Introduces Legislation to Expand Captioning and Improve Access to Movies

WASHINGTON-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Senate sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP),today introduced two bills that will expand access to captioning and image narration in movie theaters and airplanes. "More than two decades have passed since the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and in that time we have seen a transformation of our physical landscape-from curb cuts to wheelchair … Continue Reading


Statement by Senator Tom Harkin On Amendment to Defund the Affordable Care Act

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, delivered a speech on the Senate floor today denouncing another Republican attack on the Affordable Care Act. Following is the text of his remarks, as prepared for delivery. "Madam President, The Senate has before it today an amendment to the continuing resolution that, at first glance, seems very curious. This amendment would prohibit any funds from being used to ca… Continue Reading


Harkin and Mikulski Introduce Bill to Improve Loan Counseling for Students

WASHINGTON-Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and nine other Senators, introduced the Smarter Borrowing Act, a bill to protect and empower student loan borrowers with effective loan counseling. Last year, student loan debt topped $1 trillion, surpassing credit card debt for the first time. By improving the timing and quality of loan counseling, this bill will en… Continue Reading


Sens. Harkin, Wicker Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Establish Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans of All Ages

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) today introduced bipartisan legislation to establish physical activity guidelines for American children and adults. The Physical Activities Guidelines for Americans Act would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to prepare and promote physical activity guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence at least every ten years. The bill would also direct HHS, five years after the release of each set of guid… Continue Reading


Harkin, Hagan Re-Introduce Bill to Promote Responsible Use of Taxpayer Dollars in Higher Ed

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Tom Harkin and Kay Hagan today re-introduced legislation to ensure that taxpayer dollars invested in federal assistance for college students is being used to educate and support students, not being wasted on advertising, marketing and recruitment. The Protecting Financial Aid for Students and Taxpayers Act aims to maximize the value of federal student aid and taxpayer dollars by prohibiting the use of Pell Grants, federal student loans, the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, and oth… Continue Reading


Harkin, Blunt Introduce Bipartisan Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act

WASHINGTON, DC - Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) this week introduced the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act, legislation that builds on the work of Mrs. Shriver-a legendary advocate for people with disabilities-by reauthorizing the Special Olympics Sport and Empowerment Act, whose programs support people with disabilities through health, education, and global initiatives. The legislation was introduced in the House by Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Peter King (R-NY). "Eunice Kennedy Shriver … Continue Reading


Joined By Business Leaders and Workers, Sen. Harkin, Rep. Miller Unveil Bill to Raise the Minimum Wage to $10.10

Introduction of Bill Comes Three Weeks After President Obama Highlighted Increasing the Minimum Wage in His State of the Union Address Increasing the Minimum Wage to $10.10 Would Increase GDP by Nearly $33 Billion and Generate 140,000 New Jobs Over Three Years Due to Increased Consumer Spending WASHINGTON, D.C.-Joined by business leaders and workers, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA) today announced the introduction of legislation, the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, to … Continue Reading


Senators Harkin & Lautenberg Introduce Legislation to Crack Down on Higher Education Bad Actors

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today introduced the "Students First Act" to strengthen the Department of Education's oversight of institutions of higher education that are taking advantage of students and taxpayers. The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-WV). "Plain and simple, students and taxpayers expect… Continue Reading


Harkin Applauds First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” Initiative to Improve Physical Activity in American Schools

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) today applauded a "Let's Move!" announcement from First Lady Michelle Obama that will help ensure that more students can get 60 minutes of physical activity while at school. Companies and institutions including NIKE, Inc., the GENYOUth Foundation, ChildObesity180, Kaiser Permanente, and the General Mills Foundation will invest $70 million collectively to help improve physical activity choi… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) At the HELP Committee Hearing: “Animal Drug User Fee Agreements: Advancing Animal Health for the Public Health”

*As Prepared for Delivery* "We have convened this hearing to examine the animal drug and animal generic drug user fee agreements that are due to be reauthorized this year. The Animal Drug User Fee Agreement (ADUFA) and Animal Generic Drug User Fee Agreement (AGDUFA) programs mirror the fee programs for human medical products that this Committee shepherded through the Senate last Congress as part of the FDA Safety and Innovation Act. ADUFA and AGDUFA allow FDA to collect user fees from sponsor… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) At the HELP Committee Hearing: “State Leadership and Innovation in Disability Employment”

*As Prepared for Delivery* "Today, the Committee will examine leadership and innovation on the part of states in the field of disability employment. The topic and timing of today's hearing are inspired by the leadership of Governor Jack Markell of Delaware, who in his role as Chair of the National Governors Association (NGA) has made boosting employment outcomes for Americans with disabilities his signature initiative. "This past weekend, at the NGA midwinter meeting, Governor Markell and NGA… Continue Reading


Americans Agree: Retirement System Needs Reform

WASHINGTON-A new poll conducted by the National Institute for Retirement Security (NIRS) shows strong support for reforming the retirement system-a top priority of Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA). Among other findings, the NIRS poll showed that 85% of respondents are concerned about their ability to have a secure retirement, and 87% said that the recent economic downturn exposed the fragility of our retirement system. Harkin has proposed… Continue Reading


Harkin Statement on President Obama’s Nominations to the National Labor Relations Board

WASHINGTON-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement today in support of President Obama's re-nominations of Richard Griffin and Sharon Block to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB): "I am pleased to see President Obama acting to strengthen the National Labor Relations Board. The re-nominations of two well-qualified Board members-Richard Griffin and Sharon Block-are a good start. I hope that t… Continue Reading


Sen. Harkin and Rep. Miller Statement on President Obama’s Minimum Wage Proposal

Washington, D.C. - Today, Sen. Tom Harkin, Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Rep. George Miller (D-CA), Senior Democrat and former chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, issued the following statement in response to President Obama's call for an increase to the federal minimum wage in his State of the Union address. Harkin and Miller have been working together on legislation to increase the minimum wage and provide for automatic future inc… Continue Reading


Sen. Harkin Statement on HELP Committee Approval of PAHPA, the PREEMIE Act, and New Subcommittee Assignments

Washington, D.C.--U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement on the Committee's approval of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA), the Prematurity Research Expansion and Education for Mothers Who Deliver Infants Early (PREEMIE) Act, and new chairmen of the Children and Families and Primary Health and Aging Subcommittees. "I am pleased by the success of our committee's bipartisan effor… Continue Reading

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