Ranking Member's Press

06.26.14

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) At the HELP Committee Hearing: “Sexual Assault on Campus: Working to Ensure Student Safety”

"This is the eleventh in a series of hearings to inform this committee's reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. The focus of today's hearing, campus sexual assault, is a profoundly important one. "Too many students are being assaulted on our nation's college campuses. According to current research, an estimated one in 5 women are sexually assaulted or victims of attempted sexual assault while in college. As we will hear today, sexual assault does not just happen to women. Approximately … Continue Reading


06.25.14

Harkin, Alexander, Murray, Isakson Praise Senate Passage of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Urge Swift House Approval to Send Long-Overdue Update to President’s Desk

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The Senate coauthors of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) today hailed the Senate passage of the bill, which seeks to update and improve the nation's workforce development system, and together urged the U.S. House of Representatives to take up the bill and pass it swiftly. The bill-which was approved by a vote of 95 to 3-modernizes and improves existing federal workforce development programs, helps workers attain skills for 21st-century jobs, provides supports… Continue Reading


06.25.14

In Advance of Senate Vote, Harkin Urges Senate Colleagues to Support Bipartisan, Bicameral Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

WASHINGTON, D.C.-In advance of a Senate vote on the bipartisan, bicameral Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), one of the lead Senate authors of the legislation, spoke on the floor to urge his Senate colleagues to support the legislation. The proposal, which was released by a bipartisan group of leaders from the House and Senate in May, would improve federal workforce development laws that have been overdue for reauthorization for over a decade. Dozens of labor, … Continue Reading


06.25.14

With Focus on Affordability and Access, HELP Chairman Harkin Unveils Discussion Draft to Reauthorize Higher Education Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today released for discussion a draft proposal for the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). The Higher Education Affordability Act takes a comprehensive approach to rein in rising college costs and ensure the system is better serving students and families. The proposal focuses on four main goals: increasing college affordability, helping struggling … Continue Reading


06.24.14

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) At the HELP Committee Roundtable: “Moving Toward Greater Community Inclusion – Olmstead at 15”

"The title of today's roundtable is 'Moving Toward Greater Community Inclusion - Olmstead at 15.' Our discussion will focus on developments in advancing the community integration of people with disabilities and the impact of the Olmstead decision. I will also be interested to hear what the panelists think needs to be accomplished to make home- and community-based supports the norm for people with disabilities. "This past Sunday marked the 15th Anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court d… Continue Reading


06.24.14

Fifteen Years After Landmark Olmstead Supreme Court Decision, Harkin Introduces Legislation to Ensure Community Living Choice for All People with Disabilities

WASHINGTON, D.C.-One year after releasing a report showing that many states have not made adequate progress in ensuring the availability of home- and community-based services as an alternative to nursing homes and other institutional settings for individuals with disabilities, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today introduced legislation to ensure that the choice and opportunity to live in home- and community-based settings are available to all Americans with disabilities. Harkin is the Senate author o… Continue Reading


06.24.14

Harkin Statement on the Success of CDC’s “Tips From Former Smokers” Campaign; Launch of Campaign’s Fourth Phase

WASHINGTON D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today released the following statement as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the fourth phase of the successful "Tips From Former Smokers" campaign. The "Tips" campaign, aimed at helping Americans quit smoking, is funded by the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Harkin authored the Fund as part of the Affordable Care Act and allocated $105 million of the Fund to smoking cessation programs in the Fiscal Year 2014 Omnibus fun… Continue Reading


06.23.14

HELP Committee Senators Harkin, Alexander, Burr, and Casey Press CDC for Details About Possible Anthrax Exposure at CDC Lab

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Following a recent incident at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in which upwards of 75 staff may have been exposed to live anthrax, members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee today requested information from the agency about the lapse in safety protocols that led to the potential exposure, and asked for steps the CDC is taking to prevent future incidents. In a letter sent to CDC Director Tom Frieden, Committee Chairman Tom H… Continue Reading


06.23.14

HELP Committee Chairman Harkin Applauds White House Actions to Support Working Families

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, applauded White House actions announced today to support working families. Among the actions taken is a Presidential Memorandum directing federal agencies to implement flexible workplace policies as much as possible, according to the White House. The Department of Labor will also provide pregnant workers with information about their rights in each state through a new intera… Continue Reading


06.20.14

Senate Agrees to Consider Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

WASHINGTON D.C.-Senate coauthors of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) today announced the Senate has reached agreement to consider the bill to improve the nation's workforce development system and said it could be voted on as early as next week. The bill, which was introduced by a bipartisan group of leaders from the House and Senate, would improve federal workforce development laws that have been overdue for reauthorization for over a decade. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), cha… Continue Reading


06.20.14

Harkin Welcomes Proposed Changes to Expand to Same-Sex Couples Rights Already Afforded to Other American Families

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement after the Obama Administration announced two administrative actions that will extend critical federal benefits to families headed by same-sex couples. The first announcement, from the Department of Labor (DOL), clarifies that an employee is eligible for leave to care for a same-sex spouse under the Family and Medical Leave Act regardless of whether they live in a state that recognizes their marital status. The s… Continue Reading


06.20.14

Harkin, Hagan Introduce Reverse Transfer Bill to Help Boost Degree Attainment

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) announced that they have introduced the Correctly Recognizing Educational Achievements to Empower (CREATE) Graduates Act, legislation that helps young people receive the degrees they have earned by encouraging states to establish or expand "reverse transfer" programs. These programs allow four-year colleges and universities to transfer credits back to… Continue Reading


06.18.14

Harkin, Eight Senate Democrats Introduce Bill to Restore Overtime Protections for American Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, along with eight Senate Democrats, introduced legislation to restore overtime protections for low- and mid-wage salaried workers. The Restoring Overtime Pay for Working Americans Act would help to restore the 40-hour workweek for these workers. Today, only 12 percent of salaried workers are guaranteed overtime pay based on their salaries, compared to 65 percent in 19… Continue Reading


06.16.14

Harkin: Obama Executive Order Mirrors Senate Action to Ban Discrimination in the Workplace

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement today following an announcement that President Obama is directing his Administration to develop an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractor workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) workers. In November 2013, Harkin led the effort in the Senate to pass-on a bipartisan basis-the Employment Non-Discr… Continue Reading


06.11.14

Harkin Statement on Republican Obstruction of Bill to Ease Student Loan Debt

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, issued the following statement today after Republicans obstructed Senate consideration of the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, a bill that would allow borrowers with outstanding student loan debt to refinance at the lower interest rates currently offered to new borrowers and achieve much-needed savings for families across the country. "Millions of families … Continue Reading


06.10.14

On Eve of Senate Vote, Harkin Urges Support for Bill to Allow Borrowers to Refinance Student Loans

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today spoke on the Senate floor ahead of tomorrow's Senate vote on the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, a bill that would allow borrowers with outstanding student loan debt to refinance at the lower interest rates currently offered to new borrowers and achieve much-needed savings for families across the country. Harkin also announced that he would introduce … Continue Reading


06.10.14

Senators Urge Department of Transportation to Finally Ban E-Cigarettes on Airplanes

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) today in urging the Department of Transportation (DOT) to finally prohibit the use of e-cigarettes on airplanes. DOT first proposed a ban more than two years ago, but has delayed issuing a final regulation that would bar e-cig… Continue Reading


06.09.14

Harkin Welcomes Action from President Obama to Help Students Manage Federal Loan Debt

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement today welcoming an Executive Order from President Obama that will allow an additional five million borrowers with Federal Direct student loans to cap their monthly payments at just 10 percent of their income, according to the White House. "The average college student today is saddled with more than $29,000 in federal student loan debt. That… Continue Reading


06.06.14

Harkin Statement on Chemical Facility Safety and Security Working Group Recommendations

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today released the following statement in response to a report released by a federal, interagency Working Group tasked with making recommendations to improve chemical facility safety and security. The Working Group was formed as a result of an Executive Order from President Obama. "As the West, Texas disaster reminded us, keeping our nation's communities, workers, and firs… Continue Reading


06.05.14

Harkin, Hagan Work to Protect Servicemembers & Veterans in Pursuit of Higher Education

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Kay Hagan (D-NC) today introduced new legislation to protect servicemembers and veterans in response to the Justice Department's recent settlement with Sallie Mae, a student lending corporation that violated federal law and charged servicemembers excessive interest rates on their student loans. The Servicemember Higher Education Protection Act makes a number of updates and improvements to current law to better serve military families, including pro… Continue Reading

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