Ranking Member's Press

07.24.14

Harkin, Miller, Franken: Five Years Since Last Minimum Wage Increase Has Meant $6 Billion Pay Cut for Low-Wage Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C.-On the fifth anniversary of the last minimum wage increase, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Representative George Miller (D-CA), and Senator Al Franken (D-MN) held a press conference to outline the growing pay cut currently faced by millions of minimum- and low-wage workers as a result of Congressional Republicans' refusal to raise the minimum wage. For instance, since 2009, the cost of child care has risen more than 14 percent, mass transit fares have increased by more than 21 perce… Continue Reading


07.24.14

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) At the HELP Committee Hearing: “The Role of States in Higher Education”

"Since the establishment of state land-grant universities, our country has rightly recognized higher education as an essential public good. States have played a critical role to an affordable college education, through investing in higher education, being a key player in oversight, and developing strategies to increase degree attainment. "There is a lot to be proud of, but we must re-examine the states' role in light of today's challenges. The steady erosion of state investment in public highe… Continue Reading


07.23.14

HELP Committee Approves Seven Bipartisan Bills, Builds on Record of Accomplishments

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 seven bipartisan bills at a Committee markup today. The approved bills include: the Promoting Physical Activity for Americans Act; the Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Community Assistance, Research and Education (MD-CARE) Amendments of 2014; the Emergency Medical Services for Children Reauthorizati… Continue Reading


07.22.14

Harkin, Miller, Warren, DeLauro Introduce Legislation to Establish Fair Work Scheduling Practices

WASHINGTON, D.C.-In response to recent workplace trends and supporting research that suggests uncertain work schedules can have broad negative consequences for working families, leading Democratic members of Congress today introduced legislation to stem abusive scheduling practices directed primarily at hourly workers. In some of the economy's fastest-growing and lowest-paying industries-including the retail, food service, and janitorial sectors-workers face erratic and irregular work schedules… Continue Reading


07.22.14

PHOTOS: At White House, Harkin Applauds Signing of Bipartisan Bill to Update America’s Job Training Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today issued the following statement after President Obama signed into law the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The bill seeks to update and improve the nation's workforce development and vocational rehabilitation systems and was passed by the House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support. It is the 14th HELP Committee bill to become law in the 113th… Continue Reading


07.22.14

Harkin: ACA Designed to Ensure Quality, Affordable Coverage Available to Every American

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement today following rulings from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (King v. Burwell) and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (Halbig v. Burwell) regarding the use of tax credits on state-based Health Insurance Marketplaces. Harkin is chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and played a pivotal role in the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). "The goal of… Continue Reading


07.22.14

Harkin Applauds Committee Approval of CRPD, Urges Full Senate Consideration

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement today applauding the approval of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD) by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and urging its consideration by the full Senate. Harkin is the Senate author of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 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. … Continue Reading


07.22.14

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) At the Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee Hearing: “Coal Miners’ Struggle for Justice: How Unethical Legal and Medical Practices Stack the Deck Against Black Lung Claimants”

*As Prepared for Delivery* "Thank you to Senator Casey for holding this important hearing so that we can learn more about the struggles that coal miners and their families face when filing claims for benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act. "Although we don't really mine coal in Iowa anymore, protecting the health, safety, and benefits of our nation's miners has always been important to me because of my father, who was a coal miner. Black lung disease is personal for me because I know what… Continue Reading


07.18.14

Harkin Applauds Executive Order to Ban LGBT Discrimination Among Federal Employees and Contractors

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement today regarding the news that on Monday, President Obama will sign an Executive Order (EO) banning workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) workers among federal contractors. The EO will also ban discrimination against federal workers on the basis of gender identity. "Discrimination has no place in the… Continue Reading


07.16.14

Harkin: We Will Not Give Up the Fight to Ensure Access to Health Care Services

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement today after Senate Republicans obstructed consideration of theProtect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act, also known as the Not My Boss's Business Act. Harkin is an original sponsor of the bill, which would restore the contraceptive coverage requirement guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act and protect coverage of other health se… Continue Reading


07.16.14

Harkin, Blumenthal, Casey Introduce Legislation to Hold Companies Accountable For Concealing Defects

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Today, Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the Hide No Harm Act of 2014, a bill that would make it a crime for a corporate officer to knowingly conceal the fact that a corporate action or product poses a danger of death or serious physical injury to consumers and workers. The bill, which would create punishments of up to five years in prison and potential fines, would also create a safe harbor from criminal liability in cases wh… Continue Reading


07.11.14

HELP Committee Senators to HHS: Mishandling of Dangerous Pathogens Calls for Review of Policies and Procedures

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Members of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, led by Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN), are pressing for answers following three separate incidents in which select agents were reportedly improperly handled, stored, or transferred by federal laboratories at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In a letter sent to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell today, the lawmakers called for a careful rev… Continue Reading


07.10.14

Senators: Corporations Must Give Workers and Retirees Fair Treatment in Bankruptcy

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today joined Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Al Franken (D-MN) to introduce legislation to curb abuses that deprive employees and retirees of their earnings and retirement savings when businesses collapse. The Protecting Employees and Retirees in Business Bankruptcies Act would make several changes to Chapter 11 bankruptcy law,… Continue Reading


07.10.14

GAO Undercover Investigation Raises Questions About Pension Advance Companies’ Business Practices

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released the results of an undercover investigation into pension advance companies requested by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Ranking Member of the HELP Committee. GAO found questionable business practices at companies that, in exchange for a consumer's future pension payments, offer some financially distressed consumers lump-… Continue Reading


07.10.14

Update to America’s Workforce Development System Is 14th Bipartisan HELP Committee Bill to Become Law in 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Yesterday, the House of Representatives approved the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act by a bipartisan vote of 415-6. When the bill is signed by the President, as he has indicated he will do, fourteen bills in the HELP Committee's jurisdiction-under the leadership of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA)-will have become law in the 113th Congress. In a Congress dominated by partisan gridlock and Republican obstructionism, the bipartisan successes of the HELP Committee stand out. … Continue Reading


07.09.14

Overhaul of America’s Job Training Programs Headed to President’s Desk Following Strong Bipartisan Support from Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Legislation to update the Workforce Investment Act, overdue for reauthorization for more than a decade, is headed to the President's desk following overwhelming bipartisan support from both houses of Congress. The Senate and House authors of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) applauded the passage of the bill, which seeks to update and improve the nation's workforce development system. The legislation was approved today by a vote of 415 to 6 by the House of Repr… Continue Reading


07.09.14

Harkin Joins Colleagues to Introduce Legislative Fix to Protect Women’s Health in Aftermath of Supreme Court Decision

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined his Senate Democratic colleagues in introducing the Protect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act. The bill would restore the contraceptive coverage requirement guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act and protect coverage of other health services from employers who want to impose their beliefs on their employees by denying benefits. Representatives Dian… Continue Reading


07.03.14

Harkin: June Jobs Report Shows Positive Economic Growth

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today released the following statement on the June employment report showing that the economy added 288,000 jobs last month, with the national unemployment rate falling to 6.1 percent from 6.3 percent. "Today's jobs report demonstrates that our economy is on the right track. We had another month of steady job growth with 288,000 jobs added to the economy in June. That … Continue Reading


07.01.14

Harkin Statement on HHS Inspector General Reports

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement today on two reports issued by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding the verification of eligibility for coverage and financial help through the Marketplace. Harkin is Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (the LHHS s… Continue Reading


06.30.14

Harkin Statement on PBGC Projections Report

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement today on the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation's (PBGC) FY2013 Projections Report. Congress requires the agency to provide the Projections Report so that policymakers and the general public have a better understanding of the health of PBGC and the private pension system. The HELP Committee is responsible for the oversight of the PBGC. … Continue Reading

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