Ranking Member's Press

06.05.14

Harkin, Chair of HELP Committee, Applauds Senate Approval of Sylvia Mathews Burwell to Serve as Next U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today applauded the confirmation of Sylvia Mathews Burwell to serve as the next U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Senate confirmed her nomination by a vote of 78 to 17. The HELP Committee held the Senate's first hearing for Burwell on May 8. "Through a dynamic career in both public service and private sector leadership, Sylvia Burwell has proven herself as an… Continue Reading


06.05.14

Praise for Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Improve America’s Workforce Development System

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Since a bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators announced a deal to improve the nation's workforce development system through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), a broad array of labor, business, and workforce development leaders, as well as governors and mayors from around the country, has expressed support for the proposal. Read a summary of the bill here. Excerpts from letters of support sent to the bipartisan, bicameral group are immediately below, and … Continue Reading


06.04.14

Senators Call on State Governors to Expand Medicaid Under Affordable Care Act

WASHINGTON, D.C.- U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today joined a group of 20 senators in calling on state governors to expand Medicaid in their states under the Affordable Care Act. In a letter to the 18 governors who have yet to undertake the expansion, the senators urged the governors to put aside their political differences and expand the Medicaid program. The letter asserts that by refusing to do so these governors … Continue Reading


06.02.14

Harkin: Senate Should Act on Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Following Supreme Court Decision in Bond

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The Senate should act to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (CRPD) now that the Supreme Court has ruled in the case of Bond v. United States, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) said today. Harkin is the Senate author of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and has helped lead the fight in the Senate to ratify the CRPD. He serves as Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. "The Supreme Court's ruling in Bond has rem… Continue Reading


05.22.14

Bicameral Group of Democratic Lawmakers Introduces Legislation to Prohibit Risky Banking Practices on College Campuses

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Lawmakers in both the Senate and House today introduced legislation to protect students from unfair banking practices involving campus-sponsored financial products and to preserve the integrity of federal student aid programs. These bills remove conflicts of interest and end kickbacks between financial institutions and schools, ensure that students are in control of their own financial aid and banking products, and provide much-needed transparency over campus-sponsored financia… Continue Reading


05.21.14

Bipartisan, Bicameral Group Announces Deal to Improve American Workforce Development System

After Months of Negotiations, Leaders from House, Senate Introduce "Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act" Current Federal Workforce Laws, Written in 1998, Have Been Overdue for Reauthorization for More Than Ten Years WASHINGTON, D.C.-Today, a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers announced that they have reached a deal to improve the nation's workforce development system through new legislation, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The bill, which will now be considere… Continue Reading


05.20.14

Sens. Harkin, Franken, Roberts, Barrasso Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Bolster Rural Health Care

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Today, U.S. Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Al Franken (D-MN), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and John Barrasso (R-WY) introduced a bipartisan bill to help rural communities address the challenges they face when it comes to providing quality health care. The Craig Thomas Rural Hospital and Provider Equity Act (R-HoPE) would support the efforts of rural health care systems to provide innovative, sustainable health care solutions for patients in rural America. Specifically, the legislation would e… Continue Reading


05.20.14

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) At the HELP Committee Roundtable: “Economic Security of Working Women: A Roundtable Discussion”

"America's working women have made incredible strides in the workplace. And as women succeed, America succeeds and our economy succeeds. But huge challenges remain. Too many working women are stuck in poor-quality, low-wage jobs, living in or near poverty, struggling to make ends meet. "In addition, even as women have entered the workforce, they are still usually the primary caregivers for children and elders. Yet our workplaces have not kept up with the changing times, and most women do n… Continue Reading


05.15.14

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) At the HELP Committee Hearing: “Progress and Challenges: The State of Tobacco Use and Regulation in the U.S.”

"We have convened this hearing to examine the state of tobacco use and regulation in the United States - both the extraordinary public health efforts that have driven down tobacco use and the enormous challenges that remain. "Our nation has made remarkable progress in the 50 years since the first Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health. In that time, the smoking rate has been cut by more than half - from 42 percent to 18 percent. And we've learned what works: from smoke-free workplaces … Continue Reading


05.15.14

Senators Harkin, Durbin, Murphy, Schatz, Warren, and Carper Call on Education Dept. to Strengthen Protections for Students at Career Education Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Tom Carper (D-DE) today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (ED) urging them to put in place stronger protections for students in career education programs-particularly those at for-profit colleges-who often take on significant debt and are frequently left with meager job prospects. The Higher Education Act requires all career education programs … Continue Reading


05.15.14

Harkin, Blumenthal Introduce Bill to End Federal Tax Subsidy for Unhealthy Food, Beverage Marketing to Children

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) today introduced the Stop Subsidizing Childhood Obesity Act of 2014, legislation that would end the federal tax subsidy for unhealthy food and beverage marketing to children. The legislation requires that money generated by the elimination of the tax subsidy be used to fund the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Fresh Fruit and … Continue Reading


05.14.14

Harkin Leads HELP Committee Approval of Bill to Expand Access to High-Quality Early Learning Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, issued the following statement after the HELP Committee approved the Strong Start for America's Children Act, legislation he introduced in November to expand access to high-quality early learning programs. Harkin's bill focuses on three key goals: boosting funding for high-quality preschool programs serving low- and moderate-income families; increasing the quality o… Continue Reading


05.14.14

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) At the HELP Committee Markup of the Strong Start for America’s Children Act

"Today, we will mark up the Strong Start for America's Children Act. I introduced this bill last November along with Congressmen George Miller and Richard Hanna, and it has received broad support from more than a quarter of the members of the Senate and the House combined. The bill enjoys bipartisan support in the House but, unfortunately, is supported on only one side of the aisle here in the Senate. This is a disappointment, but it must not keep this Committee from acting on an issue of urge… Continue Reading


05.13.14

Harkin Statement on Servicemember Loan Abuses by Sallie Mae

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement after today's law enforcement announcement against Sallie Mae for violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. "As Chairman of the Senate's education committee, I am dismayed to learn of the problems and practices identified in the settlement reached today between the Department of Justice and Sallie Mae. Our servicemembers, who… Continue Reading


05.08.14

Senators Call on FDA to Protect Users and Bystanders From Release of Harmful Chemicals from E-Cigarettes

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a letter sent today to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) joined Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jack Reed (D-CT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) to call on the agency to recognize recent studies that show potential health impacts of "vapor" or "plume" on e-cigarette users and secondhand inhalers. Two new studies describe the harmful chemicals, including for… Continue Reading


05.08.14

Harkin Statement on Confirmation of Ted Mitchell to Serve as Under Secretary of Education

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today released the following statement after the Senate confirmed Ted Mitchell to serve as the U.S. Under Secretary of Education. The HELP Committee approved Mitchell's nomination in January 2014. "The Under Secretary of Education serves as a key Administration official on higher education and works to ensure access to advanced learning for all Americans. Ted Mitchell… Continue Reading


05.08.14

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the HELP Committee Hearing: “Hearing on the Nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell To Serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services”

"We have convened this hearing to consider the nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be the next Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Ms. Burwell, thank you for joining us today. I also welcome your husband, Stephen Burwell, your sister, Stephanie O'Keefe and her husband Joe O'Keefe, as well as your friends Saj-nicole Joni and Linda Lourie. "Ms. Burwell is currently serving as Director of the Office of Management and Budget, a position to which she was confirmed by a vote… Continue Reading


05.02.14

Harkin Welcomes Obama Administration Guidance on Tobacco Cessation

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement today applauding the Obama Administration's move to ensure that health insurers cover a range evidence-based tobacco cessation services, as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As HELP Committee Chairman, Harkin authored the prevention and wellness measures that are included in the ACA, including the provisions requiring coverage… Continue Reading


05.02.14

Harkin Welcomes April Employment Report; Calls for Continued Action to Ensure All Americans Share in Economic Recovery

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, issued the following statement today on the April employment report showing that the economy added 288,000 jobs last month, with the national unemployment rate dropping to 6.3 percent from 6.7 percent. "The April employment report is yet another sign that our economy is steadily on the mend, with 50 straight months of private-sector job growth. At 6.3 percent, the unemploy… Continue Reading


04.30.14

Harkin Urges NYC Taxi Commission Approval of Mayor de Blasio Plan to Improve Accessibility

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the Senate author of the Americans with Disabilities Act, today submitted testimony to the New York City Taxicab and Limousine Commission in support of Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to improve accessibility for New York City taxicabs. Mayor de Blasio's plan will make 50 percent of taxis accessible to people with disabilities by 2020. "The proposed plan, to make 50 percent of the tax… Continue Reading

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