Ranking Member's Press

11.20.13

Harkin, Reed, Stabenow Unveil Plan to Preserve Assistance for Jobseekers

WASHINGTON, D.C.-In an effort to stabilize the economy and prevent 1.3 million Americans from having their federal jobless benefits cut off, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today to introduce the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Extension Act of 2013. This bill will provide relief for both states and struggling families by extending federal unemployment… Continue Reading


11.18.13

Senate Health Policy Leaders Hail Passage of Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Safety of Compounded Drugs, Track All Prescription Drugs; Bill Now Heads to the President’s Desk

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and HELP Committee members Senator Al Franken (D-MN), Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) today hailed Senate passage of legislation to help ensure the safety of compounded drugs and to track all prescription drugs from the time they are manufactured to the moment they are picked up at the drugsto… Continue Reading


11.15.13

Praise for Harkin Bill to Expand Access to High-Quality Early Learning Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Since its introduction on Wednesday, a broad range of advocates and experts has expressed support for Senate HELP Chairman Tom Harkin's (D-IA) Strong Start for America's Children Act, a bill that would expand access to high-quality early learning programs for children from birth to age five. This major legislative initiative builds on the framework put forward by President Obama in his 2013 State of the Union Address and reflects Chairman Harkin's longstanding commitment to ens… Continue Reading


11.15.13

Harkin Announces Three More Bipartisan Health Bills Headed to President’s Desk

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate HELP Committee, today announced that three bipartisan health bills have been approved by Congress and now head to the President's desk. The CHIMP Act Amendments of 2013 passed last night as part of a package that also included the HELP Committee-cleared PREEMIE Reauthorization Act, which authorizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Health Resources and Services Administration to conduct research and edu… Continue Reading


11.14.13

Harkin Statement on White House Health Care Announcement

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today issued the following statement in response to the President's announcement that Americans may keep their current plans for one year without penalty. "If it had been up to me, I am not certain I would have made this decision, but the President felt it was important to do. My hope, however, is that everyone who has received a cancellation notice will fully and carefu… Continue Reading


11.14.13

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) At the HELP Committee Hearing: “Ensuring Access to Higher Education: Simplifying Federal Student Aid for Today’s College Student”

"Today's hearing is the third in our series examining critical issues in postsecondary education as the Committee looks to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. The topic we'll discuss today is of paramount importance, and is arguably the bedrock of federal higher education policy: our federal financial aid programs and their effectiveness in providing access to higher education. Since the passage of the National Defense Education Act in 1958, the federal government has played a role in helpin… Continue Reading


11.13.13

Harkin Welcomes Senate Passage of Legislation to Support Pediatric Medical Education

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 the Senate approved the Children's Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act (CHGME). Harkin, Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Committee Members Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) led the effort to reauthorize the CHGME program. The legislation passed the Senate HELP Commit… Continue Reading


11.13.13

Harkin Statement on Affordable Care Act Enrollment Numbers

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 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released enrollment numbers for the first month of the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. "I appreciate the Department's release of detailed enrollment data. As the Administration works through technical problems with the website's rollout, it's important that they be as transp… Continue Reading


11.13.13

Harkin, Heller Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Provide Need-Based Tax Credits for Hearing Aids

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced the Hearing Aid Assistance Tax Credit Act. The legislation provides a non-refundable $500 tax credit for the purchase of a hearing aid, or $1,000 if two are needed, once every five years. "As someone who grew up with a brother who was deaf, I know firsthand the challenges that individuals with hearing loss face and how impor… Continue Reading


11.13.13

Harkin, Senate Democrats Introduce Legislation to Expand Access to High-Quality Early Learning Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee-along with Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Ron Wyden (D-OR)-today introduced the Strong Start for America's Children Act, legislation to expand access to high-quality e… Continue Reading


11.12.13

Harkin: Senate Moves a Step Closer to Passing Bipartisan Drug Safety Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Today, after the U.S. Senate took a procedural vote to start debate on the Drug Quality and Security Act, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) said Congress was one step closer to passing the legislation. Harkin, as Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, worked on a bipartisan, bicameral basis to develop the legislation in the wake of the 2012 meningitis outbreak tied to the New England Compounding Center. The U.S. House approved the measure in Sept… Continue Reading


11.12.13

Statement by Senator Tom Harkin on Landmark Drug Safety Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee delivered a speech on the floor of the Senate on the Drug Quality and Security Act. One year ago, the meningitis outbreak caused by contaminated compounded drugs from the New England Compounding Center alerted the nation that providers and patients need sources of safe compounded drugs. Following the outbreak, a bipartisan group of HELP Committee Senators- led by Ch… Continue Reading


11.08.13

Harkin Welcomes FDA’s Release of Proposed Rules to Protect Consumers Using Generic Drugs

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), along with a coalition of lawmakers, today welcomed the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) release of a proposed rule to ensure that generic manufacturers of prescription drugs can update their warning labels to provide better patient safety information to consumers. Chairman Harkin, along with Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (I-VT), Senator Al Franken (D-MN), Senate Aging Committee … Continue Reading


11.08.13

Administration Issues Final Regulations on Harkin-Led Mental Health Parity Effort

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today welcomed the Administration's announcement that final regulations will be put in place to implement the 2008 Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. "Millions of Americans-and their families-are affected by mental health and substance use disorders. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act was written to ensure that th… Continue Reading


11.08.13

Harkin Welcomes White House Support for Minimum Wage Proposal

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today issued the following statement upon learning of President Barack Obama's support for legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 and index it to inflation. The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, introduced by Harkin in the Senate and Congressman George Miller (D-CA) in the House, would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 in three steps and provide for au… Continue Reading


11.07.13

Harkin Leads Employment Non-Discrimination Act to Senate Passage

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today welcomed the final vote by the Senate to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would outlaw employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Harkin, as Chairman of the HELP Committee, oversaw the bipartisan passage of ENDA in the Committee this July. "Today's vote to pass ENDA marks another historic step in the long … Continue Reading


11.07.13

Harkin Welcomes FDA Move to Remove “Generally Recognized as Safe” Status for Trans Fats

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today welcomed the announcement that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made a preliminary determination to withdraw "Generally Recognized as Safe" (GRAS) status for partially hydrogenated oil. This is the first step towards phasing these harmful oils out of the food supply. In a letter earlier this year, Harkin urged the FDA to deny GRAS status to partially hy… Continue Reading


11.06.13

Harkin Joins Durbin, Cohen To Call For Congress To End Loophole that Encourages For-Profit Colleges to Target Veterans & Servicemembers

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced legislation in the Senate that would help put an end to the for-profit higher education industry's predatory marketing campaigns and aggressive recruiting of veterans, servicemembers, and their families. The Protecting Our Students and Taxpayers (POST) Act, which Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) will introduce in the House of Represe… Continue Reading


11.05.13

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) At the HELP Committee Hearing: “The Online Federal Health Insurance Marketplace: Enrollment Challenges and the Path Forward”

*As Prepared for Delivery* "About five years ago, Richard Streeter, a 47-year-old truck driver from Eugene, Oregon, was frustrated and worried. As New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof described this weekend, Mr. Streeter couldn't find affordable insurance in the individual market-back in the bad old days, no insurance company would cover him. So he did what people locked out of the market do-he went without care. "Well, after months of ignoring pain, Mr. Streeter finally went in for a c… Continue Reading


11.05.13

GAO Finds Weaknesses in Electronic Retirement Document Disclosure Requirements

Harkin and Miller ask GAO to more fully examine employer practices and whether they work for employees WASHINGTON, D.C.-Participants of employer-sponsored retirement plans may not be getting access to important plan documents because of confusing and contradictory rules regarding electronic records disclosures, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found in a report released by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA). Harkin and Miller also asked GAO to dig deeper into employe… Continue Reading

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