Chair's Press


Harkin Marks One-Year Anniversary of Patient's Bill of Rights

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today marked the one-year anniversary of crucial health care protections that have already benefitted millions of Americans. Established under the Affordable Care Act and known as the Patient's Bill of Rights, these protections have banned many insurance company abuses, and put consumers, not insurance companies, in control of their health care. This week, the Centers for Disease Control released a survey showing that there were 900,000 fewer uninsur… Continue Reading


Harkin Statement on Obama’s Announcement of NCLB Waivers

WASHINGTON - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, issued the following statement after President Barack Obama announced that he would allow states to apply for waivers from certain parts of No Child Left Behind in exchange for state-led efforts to close achievement gaps, promote rigorous accountability, and ensure that all students are on track to graduate college- and career-ready: "For the last two years, I have been working in a b… Continue Reading


Harkin, Leahy, Inouye Introduce Medical-Legal Partnerships for Health Act

WASHINGTON-Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, introduced the Medical-Legal Partnerships for Health Act, which would help connect legal aid attorneys with patients at hospitals and health clinics. For many American families struggling to make ends meet, maintaining a healthy living environment is a challenge that leads to myriad, preventable health problems, and resolving problems like domestic violence, lack of heat in the wi… Continue Reading


Harkin, Miller Statement on DOL Commitment to Sensible Fiduciary Regulation

WASHINGTON - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP), and Representative George Miller (CA-7), Ranking Member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, today issued the following statement after the Department of Labor announced that it will be re-proposing its rule clarifying who is a fiduciary with respect to retirement plans: "Today, the Department of Labor announced it would be taking further steps to make sure that it … Continue Reading


Harkin Opening Statement at HELP Hearing, “Securing the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain”

*As Prepared for Delivery* "As part of our ongoing process to reauthorize the FDA user fee legislation this congress, we have convened this hearing to examine the safety and integrity of our pharmaceutical supply chain. Few issues are more important to the health and safety of Americans than the integrity of our drug supply. The safety of our medicines has a profound effect on the health and security of our country, and we must have confidence that our system of oversight is up to the task of… Continue Reading


New Student Default Data Underscores Need for Reform of For-Profit Education Industry

WASHINGTON - Following today's release of the Fiscal Year 2009 national student loan default data showing that for-profit colleges continue to have the highest default rate in higher education, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) reiterated his call for reform and stronger oversight of the for-profit education sector: "For any student, loan default is a heartbreaking situation with long term consequences. Especially in these tough economic times, it is critically important that we ensure students ar… Continue Reading


HELP Committee Approves Children’s Hospital Support Bill, Combating Autism Act

WASHINGTON-Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) chaired an executive session in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to vote on the Children's Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act (CHGME), which provides critical resources to children's hospitals for pediatric residency programs, and the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act, which funds surveillance, screening, professional training, intervention and research programs to fight autism spectrum disorders. Both bills were repo… Continue Reading


Harkin Statement on 11th Circuit Court Ruling

WASHINGTON - Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement on today's ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act: "The 11th Circuit is wrong in its assessment of the individual mandate. At some point in their lives, all Americans will need health care. If they seek that care without health insurance and don't pay for it, they aren't 'opting out' of the health care … Continue Reading


Harkin Statement at HELP Committee Hearing: “Health Reform and Health Insurance Premiums: Empowering States to Serve Consumers”

"In the decade before the Affordable Care Act was passed, relentlessly increasing health insurance premiums imposed a heavy tax on families and small businesses. Over those ten years, premiums for family, employer-sponsored coverage more than doubled. Small businesses simply couldn't afford it anymore and began dropping coverage. "Congress had to act - and we did. In passing the Affordable Care Act, we enacted reforms to tame this runaway premium growth. Today's hearing will explore how th… Continue Reading


Harkin Applauds Support for Women’s Health from Obama Administration

WASHINGTON-Today, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, issued the following statement on Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius's acceptance of the Institute of Medicine's guidelines for women's preventive health services: "I commend Secretary Sebelius for issuing strong guidelines on coverage of preventive services for women. Prevention must play a crucial role in reforming our sick care system into a tr… Continue Reading


Harkin, Enzi Express Commitment to Bipartisan Reauthorization of FDA User Fee Legislation

WASHINGTON - In advance of tomorrow's Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee first hearing on FDA User Fee legislation, the Committee's Chairman and Ranking Member Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) released the following joint statement expressing their commitment to a bipartisan reauthorization process: "These laws authorize the FDA to collect fees from manufacturers to expedite the process of approving drugs and medical devices, and play a critically impor… Continue Reading


Harkin Leads Group of Senators Pushing for Full Funding for Students with Disabilities

WASHINGTON - With next week's 21st Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) approaching, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced the IDEA Full Funding Act, which would fulfill the federal government's 36-year-old commitment to cover 40% of the excess cost of educating students with disabilities. "This bill represents a necessary step for improving educational outcomes for students with disabilities and preparing them to reach their potential and secure competitive employment in our… Continue Reading


Harkin Op-Ed: "Take disabled New Yorkers for a ride: Make the Taxi of Tomorrow accessible to all"

In January, I wrote Mayor Bloomberg regarding New York City's Taxi of Tomorrow project, encouraging him to select a design for the fleet that would be accessible for the thousands of New York residents and visitors who use wheelchairs. New Yorkers and tourists - whether they're disabled veterans or people like Karl Nguyen, the Californian suffering from a debilitating bone disease, about whom the Daily News editorial page wrote movingly last week - deserve to be able to get around thi… Continue Reading


Harkin Statement at HELP Committee Hearing “Lessons from the Field: Learning from What Works for Employment for Persons with Disabilities”

*As Prepared for Delivery* The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will come to order. The title of this hearing is "Lessons from the Field: Learning from What Works for Employment for Persons with Disabilities." The purpose of today's bipartisan hearing is to learn from a diverse group of witnesses about proven strategies that have a positive impact on employment outcomes for all people with disabilities, including young adults and veterans. Later this month, we will … Continue Reading


Harkin Statement at HELP Committee Hearing: “The Power of Pensions: Building a Strong Middle Class and Strong Economy ”

*As Prepared for Delivery* I want to welcome everyone to the latest in our series of hearings focusing on retirement security. Today, we are going to take a close look at the important role pensions can play in building a strong, vibrant middle class, both in terms of the economic security they provide to retired Americans and because of the role they play in growing our nation's economy and creating jobs. After a lifetime of hard work, every American deserves to feel secure and independent i… Continue Reading


Harkin Statement on Efforts to Create Affordable Insurance Exchanges

WASHINGTON - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), the Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement after the Department of Health and Human Services announced proposed rules to help states establish state-based competitive marketplaces where Americans and small businesses will be able to purchase affordable health insurance. To mark the one year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act this March, Harkin convened a HELP Committee hearing to… Continue Reading


Senators Condemn For-Profit Colleges’ Mistreatment of America’s Veterans

HELP Committee Data Shows One Quarter of Post 9/11 G.I. Bill Education Benefits Went to 15 For-Profit Higher Education Companies Last Year WASHINGTON - Following last night's PBS Frontline segment documenting the mistreatment of America's veterans by some for-profit colleges, a group of Senators condemned the practices brought to light. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), along with Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), … Continue Reading


Harkin: “Social contract has disappeared” for American Middle Class

WASHINGTON-Today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee heard testimony from Americans who are struggling to make ends meet and those who are studying the decline of the middle class. After delivering a speech on the Senate floor yesterday decrying Washington's focus on cutting the deficit at the expense of needed investments in job creation, Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) shared his view that middle class families are the backbone of the American economy, but are being largely… Continue Reading


Harkin Floor Statement on NLRB’s Proposed Voting Rules

WASHINGTON-Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, spoke on the Senate floor in support of modernized elections rules proposed yesterday by the National Labor Relations Board. Below are his full remarks as prepared for delivery: "In 1912, women went on strike at a textile plant in Lawrence, Massachusetts. They inspired the nation when they walked the picket line with signs that said: "We want bread, but we want roses too." Tho… Continue Reading


Harkin Praises NLRB's Proposed Voting Rules

WASHINGTON-Today , Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, released the following statement in response to the National Labor Relations Board's proposal of modernized election rules, which will clear the way for workers to vote on unionization by streamlining regulatory processes: "To ensure a strong economic recovery, America needs a strong middle class," Harkin said. "A key part of rebuilding the middle class is ensuring that every Am… Continue Reading

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