Ranking Member's Press

03.13.14

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) At the HELP Committee Hearing: “Protecting the Public Health: Examining FDA’s Initiatives and Priorities”

"We have convened this hearing to examine FDA's implementation of key public health initiatives being undertaken by the agency, including several significant reforms passed out of this Committee over the last few years. "Our nation faces a variety of public health challenges in this early part of the 21st century. There have been rapid changes in where our products are made and where our food comes from. There have been major innovations, including treatments that save lives, and a better and… Continue Reading


03.12.14

Harkin Statement on Senate Approval of Nominees to Department of Education, National Science Foundation, and Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, issued the following statement today after the Senate approved by voice vote the nominations of James Shelton to serve as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Education; France Cordova to serve as Director of the National Science Foundation; and Heather MacDougall, to serve as a Member of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Shelton and Cordova were … Continue Reading


03.12.14

Harkin Opens Senate Floor Debate on Bipartisan Child Care Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today opened Senate floor debate on the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014. The bipartisan reauthorization will expand access to and improve the quality of child care for the more than 1.5 million children and families that benefit from the federal child care subsidy program. Read more about the bill here. "The last reauthorization of this program … Continue Reading


03.12.14

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) At the HELP Committee Hearing: “From Poverty to Opportunity: How a Fair Minimum Wage Helps Working Families Succeed”

*As Prepared for Delivery* "In his State of the Union address this year, President Obama said, 'No one who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.' I strongly agree. Indeed, that statement expresses a core American value. "But today, sadly, we are falling short. Millions of working families are being left behind. Our country is enormously wealthy, and the wealthiest members of our society have seen their income skyrocket in recent years. But the people at the bottom… Continue Reading


03.11.14

Harkin, Miller Welcome DOL Rule to Strengthen Fee Disclosure for Worker Retirement Accounts

WASHINGTON, D.C.- U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and U.S. Representative George Miller (D-CA), senior Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee, today welcomed the Department of Labor's (DOL) proposed rule to ensure employers are given a summary of the fees being charged in connection with their 401(k) and other retirement plans. "Millions of people are counting on their 401(k) plans to provide financ… Continue Reading


03.11.14

Harkin Applauds News That 4.2 Million Americans, Including More Than 15,000 Iowans, Have Signed Up For Coverage Through Health Insurance Marketplaces

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today applauded the news that 4.2 million Americans, including more than 15,000 Iowans, have signed up for health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces, up from 11,788 at the end of January. In Iowa, 25 percent of the February health insurance enrollees were between the ages of 18 and 34, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "The… Continue Reading


03.11.14

Harkin, Senate Democrats Call For Administration to Finalize Regulations For Tobacco Products

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Ed Markey (D-MA) on a letter this week calling on the Administration to review and finalize regulations for e-cigarettes and e-hookahs without further delay. By Executive Order, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has 90 days to complete revi… Continue Reading


03.11.14

Harkin, Alexander, Mikulski, Burr Urge Senate Passage of Bipartisan Bill to Help American Families Access Safe, Affordable, and Quality Child Care

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Richard Burr (R-NC) today urged Senate passage of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014, a bipartisan reauthorization that will expand access to and improve the quality of child care for the more than 1.5 million children and families that benefit from the federal child care subsidy program. The law has been due for reauthorization since 2002. Harkin and Alexander are … Continue Reading


03.10.14

Opening Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin at the HELP Committee Field Hearing on Expanding Access to High-Quality Early Education

DES MOINES, IA-U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today chaired a field hearing of the Committee in Des Moines to explore ways to expand and strengthen early education options for children and parents. The hearing, titled "Doing What's Right: Preparing Iowa's Children for Success in School and Beyond," is aimed at providing a platform to discuss early learning programs and initiatives that benefit young children in Iowa… Continue Reading


03.07.14

Harkin: Jobs Report Emphasizes Need to Renew Federal Unemployment Insurance

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 on the February employment numbers. Today's report shows that the economy added 175,000 jobs, yet the current unemployment rate is 6.7 percent. "Today's jobs report shows that our economy is slowly and steadily improving with 175,000 jobs added in February. Industries across a wide variety of sectors, including healthcare, constructi… Continue Reading


03.06.14

New Report: 57 Percent of Small Business Owners Support Harkin-Miller Proposal to Raise Minimum Wage to $10.10

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Rep. George Miller (D-CA), senior Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee, released the following statement today in response to a new report from the Small Business Majority showing that 57 percent of small business owners support the Harkin-Miller proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 because it will boost consumer demand for small businesses, h… Continue Reading


03.05.14

Bicameral Coalition of Lawmakers Supports FDA’s Proposed Rule to Protect Consumers of Generic Drugs

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Senate HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), House Energy & Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI), Senator Al Franken (D-MN), House Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) led a bicameral coalition of 17 Senators and 24 Members of the House in submitting Congressional comments to support … Continue Reading


03.04.14

Harkin, Whitehouse, Eshoo, and Lance Applaud Development of Pancreatic Cancer Research Framework

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Yesterday, the National Cancer Institute announced a scientific framework for advancing research on pancreatic cancer, as directed under the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2012. Today, U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and U.S. Representative Leonard Lance (R-NJ), the sponsors of that legislation, in welcoming the framework… Continue Reading


03.03.14

Chairmen Harkin, Carper Urge Veteran Affairs Department to Improve GI Bill Comparison Tool

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Tom Carper (D-DE), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, have sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) urging additional improvements to the agency's GI Bill Comparison Tool. In the letter, sent Thursday evening, the senators commend the VA for launching the website, but recommend that the agency work with its partners-the … Continue Reading


02.27.14

Harkin Statement on HELP Committee Approval of Surgeon General, Department of Labor, Department of Education, and Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission Nominations

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 five nominees. The approved nominees include: Dr. Vivek Murthy to serve as U.S. Surgeon General, Portia Wu to serve as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training, Christopher Lu to serve as Deputy Secretary of Labor, Heather MacDougall to serve as a Member of the Occupational Safety and He… Continue Reading


02.27.14

Harkin, Longtime Senate Champion for Healthy Eating, Praises FDA Proposal to Update Food and Beverage Nutrition Labels

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today praised new proposed rules from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to improve the nutrition facts panel that is displayed on food and beverage labels. The new labeling proposal will more accurately reflect typical serving sizes, and will include other valuable changes, including a listing of added sugars and reducing the daily value for sodium. "Preve… Continue Reading


02.27.14

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) At the HELP Committee Hearing: “Promoting College Access and Success For Students With Disabilities”

*As Prepared for Delivery* "Today's roundtable will focus on how students with disabilities are accessing and persisting throughout postsecondary education. This roundtable marks our sixth in a series to examine issues we plan to address in the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. And our review of this topic couldn't come at a better time. According to just-released research by the Pew Research Center, the value of a college education has never been greater. No matter how … Continue Reading


02.26.14

Harkin Welcomes CFPB Action Against For-Profit College ITT’s Private Lending Policies

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 after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a lawsuit against ITT Educational Services alleging predatory lending tactics. The high-interest rate ITT private loan programs at issue in the lawsuit were first exposed at Harkin's June 2011 HELP Committee hearing on the for-profit college sector. Harkin also released … Continue Reading


02.26.14

Harkin, Alexander Co-Host Monthly Lecture Series on Deaf Community and Culture

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Last evening, U.S. Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) co-hosted the first in a series of monthly lectures for senators and their staff on the deaf community and its culture. The lectures will take place over the next five months and are intended to help senators and their staffers expand their knowledge of deaf culture and learn some basic phrases in American Sign Language (ASL) to more effectively communicate with deaf and hard-of-hearing visitors to their o… Continue Reading


02.26.14

Harkin, Boxer, Durbin, Blumenthal, Markey Introduce Legislation To Protect Kids From E-Cigarettes

WASHINGTON, D.C.- U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) today in introducing the Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act to prohibit the marketing of e-cigarettes to children and teens. "When it comes to the marketing of e-cigarettes to children and teens, it's 'Joe Camel' all over again. … Continue Reading

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