Ranking Member's Press

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


11.05.13

Harkin Statement on Senate Hearing on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Senate author of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, released the following statement regarding the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's hearing today on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD): "The goal of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is to ensure that people with disabilities across the globe have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. Americans with disabilities already … Continue Reading


11.04.13

Harkin and Bipartisan Group of Senators: It’s Time to Pass ENDA

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Today, after the successful cloture vote to start debate on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), called on the Senate to pass the bill and end LGBT employment discrimination. Harkin is Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which passed the bill on a bipartisan vote in July. "Despite the passage of laws at the state… Continue Reading


11.04.13

In Floor Remarks, Harkin Welcomes Historic Vote on Bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act

WASHINGTON, D.C.-On the floor of the U.S. Senate this afternoon, U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) welcomed a historic Senate vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Harkin, as Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, oversaw the bipartisan passage of ENDA in the Committee this July. "Despite the passage of laws at the state and local levels, disc… Continue Reading


11.01.13

Sens. Harkin, Reed, Alexander, Murray, and Roberts Applaud News of 500th Drug Labeled with Pediatric Information

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Pat Roberts (R-KS) today released the following statement applauding the news that the 500th drug has been labeled with pediatric information as a result of provisions included in the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA). Senators Reed, Alexander, Murray, and Roberts were sponsors of the Better Pharmaceuticals and Devices for Children Act, which was incl… Continue Reading


11.01.13

HELP Committee-Led Effort to Improve Access to Emergency Epinephrine in Schools Heads to President’s Desk

WASHINGTON, D.C.-A bill to improve access to emergency epinephrine in schools-unanimously approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee this week-has passed both chambers of Congress and will now go to the President's desk to be signed into law. HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), a sponsor of the measure, applauded the news in a statement today: "For a student with severe allergies, ready access to epinephrine can mean the difference between life and de… Continue Reading


10.31.13

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) At the HELP Committee Hearing: “Attaining a Quality Degree: Innovations to Improve Student Success”

*As Prepared for Delivery* "Today's hearing is the second in our series to examine critical issues in postsecondary education as the Committee looks to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. The topic we'll discuss today is of great interest to policymakers and the public: innovation in higher education. Though we've spent time previously in this Committee discussing the role of innovation, much of that conversation has centered on college affordability. While college affordability is of para… Continue Reading


10.30.13

Harkin Hails Senate Passage of Bipartisan Legislation to Allow NIH to Support Retired Medical Chimpanzees

Senate HELP Committee Passed Legislation Unanimously Earlier Today; Harkin Has Also Supported Policy in His Role as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Overseeing NIH Funding WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate HELP Committee, today hailed the Senate passage of bipartisan legislation that will ensure that chimpanzees owned or supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-that are no longer used for medical research-can continue to receiv… Continue Reading

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