Ranking Member's Press

07.10.13

Harkin Statement on Senate Failure to Adopt Student Loan Rate Fix

WASHINGTON-Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, released the following statement after a Harkin-sponsored measure that would return federal student loan interest rates to 3.4 percent for one year failed to clear a procedural hurdle in the Senate. "I am deeply disappointed that my Republican colleagues have again voted down our attempt to keep student loans affordable for borrowers. With college costs rising and student debt at… Continue Reading


07.10.13

Harkin Statement on HELP Committee Passage of Bipartisan, Fully-Inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act

WASHINGTON-Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement applauding the Committee's passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity: "Protections against workplace discrimination have made our country a better, fairer, and more equal place. It is time to promote workplace fairness by prohi… Continue Reading


07.10.13

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) At the HELP Committee Markup of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act

"Today is an historic day in the HELP Committee, where we have the opportunity to move forward with landmark civil rights legislation that will make us a stronger, better, fairer country. Today's proceedings are the culmination of a long history of work by this Committee - the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or 'ENDA' as it is known - was considered by this Committee in 2002, and was the subject of hearings in 2009 and 2012. Today will mark the first time we report to the full Senate a bill… Continue Reading


07.08.13

Senator Harkin Statement on Student Loans

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 anticipated vote on a bill to ensure that the interest rate for federal subsidized Stafford loans remains at 3.4 percent. In June, Harkin joined Senators Jack Reed, Kay Hagan, Al Franken, Elizabeth Warren, and Debbie Stabenow to introduce the Keep Student Loans Affordable Act of 2013 (S. 1238), which will secure the low interest … Continue Reading


06.27.13

Harkin, Senate Democrats Seek to Keep Student Loans Affordable

WASHINGTON, DC - In an effort to protect taxpayers and prevent the interest rate on need-based student loans from doubling on millions of Americans, U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today joined 38 Senate Democrats to introduce a fully paid for bill to lock in the rate at 3.4 percent for one year. The Keep Student Loans Affordable Act of 2013 (S. 1238) will secure the low interest rate for an additional year as Con… Continue Reading


06.27.13

Harkin Statement on New York City Law to Allow Workers to Earn Paid Sick Days

WASHINGTON-Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, released the following statement in response to a New York City council decision to override a mayoral veto and enact a law that would allow workers to earn up to five paid sick days per year: "Tens of millions of Americans, especially those in low-wage jobs, lack access to paid sick days. When illness strikes, these hardworking people face impossible choices between keeping th… Continue Reading


06.25.13

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the HELP Committee Hearing: “Building a Foundation of Fairness: 75 Years of the Minimum Wage”

"Today marks the 75th anniversary of the signing of the Fair Labor Standards Act by President Franklin Roosevelt on June 25th, 1938. The FLSA was a landmark achievement. After years of struggle, this national law set a floor under wages, limited working hours by requiring overtime pay, and set out to eliminate child labor. It was born out of the Great Depression, a time of falling wages, falling consumption, widespread unemployment, and pervasive poverty and hunger. "President Roosevelt and… Continue Reading


06.24.13

Harkin Statement on Supreme Court Decision to Review Appeals Court Ruling on Recess Appointments

WASHINGTON-Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement in reaction to the United States Supreme Court's announcement that it will review a federal appeals court ruling that President Obama's intrasession appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) were unconstitutional: "I am pleased the Supreme Court has decided to promptly review the D.C. Circuit's decision regarding the legalit… Continue Reading


06.20.13

Harkin Statement on New Report Showing the Affordable Care Act Will Return $500 Million in Rebates to American Consumers

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 on a report issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) showing that under the health reform law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), consumers will receive $500 million in rebates from health insurance companies by August 1, 2013. The report was compiled using 2012 health insurer data. The rebates are required by… Continue Reading


06.20.13

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) At the HELP Committee Hearing: “Developing a Skilled Workforce for a Competitive Economy: Reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act”

"Today's hearing will address a very important topic - how federal policy can better support a skilled workforce through the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act. "I am pleased to be joined today by Senators Murray and Isakson who have been tireless champions of reauthorizing this bill. They have been working closely together this Congress, as they have before, to find a path forward on reauthorization - a goal we all share. I want to thank them and their staff for their hard work on… Continue Reading


06.20.13

Harkin Statement on New Report Detailing Severity of Retirement Crisis

WASHINGTON-Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement in reaction to a new study released by the National Institute on Retirement Security, which shows that the retirement crisis is even worse than previously thought: "The findings of this report show that the chance of a secure retirement for the average American worker is growing fainter by the day. With the average family holding just $3,0… Continue Reading


06.14.13

Sens. Harkin, Franken, Grassley, Rubio Push Bipartisan Bill to Help Families and Students Understand True Cost of College

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate, Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined 15 of his Senate colleagues to reintroduce legislation to create a universal financial aid award letter so that families and students can easily compare financial aid packages from different schools. He joined the bill's lead sponsor, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), along with Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA),… Continue Reading


06.13.13

Harkin Statement on Signing of Animal Drug User Fee Bill into Law

WASHINGTON-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, applauded President Obama for signing the Animal Drug User Fee Agreement (ADUFA) and Animal Generic Drug User Fee Agreement (AGDUFA) reauthorizations into law today. ADUFA and AGDUFA allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to collect user fees from sponsors of animal drug and animal generic drug applications, and the agency uses those fees to help fund the review of animal dru… Continue Reading


06.12.13

Harkin Statement on Committee Passage of the Strengthening America's Schools Act

WASHINGTON--Chairman Tom Harkin released the following statement after the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee today approved Harkin's Strengthening America's Schools Act (SASA), a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). "The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is long overdue. As a result of Congress' delay, 37 states-plus the District of Columbia-have received waivers from No Child Left Behind requirements, is… Continue Reading


06.11.13

Harkin Statement on First Day of Strengthening America's Schools Act Markup

WASHINGTON-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement on the Committee's completion of the first day of markup of the Strengthening America's Schools Act, S. 1094. The HELP Committee will convene again tomorrow, Wednesday, June 12, at 10:00 a.m. to continue the markup in Hart 216. To view live video coverage, visit www.help.senate.gov. "The HELP Committee is charged with an important task: writing the law… Continue Reading


06.11.13

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) At the HELP Committee Markup: “Strengthening America’s Schools Act”

*As Prepared for Delivery* "Today we will mark up the Strengthening America's Schools Act of 2013, a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA. Our actions today are crucial and long overdue-the last reauthorization of this law expired in 2007. With this mark-up, we have the opportunity to improve on the lessons of the past and ensure a brighter future for our children and the nation. "I will say, at the outset, what is obvious to everyone. The bill we are conside… Continue Reading


06.11.13

Praise for Harkin Bill to Fix ‘No Child Left Behind’

WASHINGTON, D.C.-As the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee prepares to mark up the Strengthening America's Schools Act (SASA), Chairman Tom Harkin's bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), advocates and experts have expressed support for the bill's provisions: "We are writing to thank you for pursuing the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and for the significant improvements made in the Strengthening Am… Continue Reading


06.10.13

Senators Urge Nickelodeon to Prohibit Advertisements for Unhealthy Food and Beverages Targeted to Children

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) - joined by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) - sent a letter to Nickelodeon and its parent company Viacom urging them to help address the nation's childhood obesity epidemic by barring unhealthy food and beverage advertisements. One year ago, the Walt Disney Corporation announced that it would no longer host advertisements on any of its med… Continue Reading


06.10.13

Harkin, Alexander, Burr, Casey Tout New Public Health Law Giving Obama Administration Ability to Respond Quickly to Burgeoning Middle East Respiratory Disease

Under Emergency Health Designation for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Administration Can Better Prepare and Respond to MERS New Authority Granted in Bipartisan Reauthorization of Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, along with Committee members Richard Burr (R-NC) and Bob Casey (D-PA), today applaud… Continue Reading


06.10.13

Harkin Statement on the 50th Anniversary of the Enactment of the Equal Pay Act

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 on the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Equal Pay Act. "Five decades after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, we are reminded that much work remains to realize the basic principle that men and women deserve equal pay for equal work. Today, an American woman makes only 77 cents for every dollar that a man makes, a… Continue Reading

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