Ranking Member's Press

03.21.14

Harkin, Coauthor of the Affordable Care Act, Marks Fourth Anniversary by Urging Iowans to Enroll Before March 31

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), one of the authors of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), today commemorated the anniversary of the law's enactment by urging Iowans to enroll in quality, comprehensive health insurance coverage for 2014 before March 31. Already, more than five million Americans-including more than 15,000 Iowans-have signed up for health care plans through the Marketplaces. Earlier this week, Harkin released a public service announcement to help spread the word in Iowa ab… Continue Reading


03.21.14

Harkin: Civil Rights Data Demonstrates Need for Policies That Ensure High-Quality Education for All Students

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 Department of Education (ED) released its Civil Rights Data Collection for the 2011-2012 school year. Among other findings, ED's new civil rights data show widespread educational disparities in U.S. public schools, particularly for students with disabilities and students of color. Students with disabilities and students … Continue Reading


03.18.14

Harkin Joins 194 Members of Congress in Bicameral Letter Calling for Executive Order Protecting LGBT Workers from Workplace Discrimination

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today joined Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) in sending a letter signed by 195 Senators and Representatives to President Barack Obama calling on him to issue an executive order banning contractors from receiving federal government contracts unless they have a policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender iden… Continue Reading


03.14.14

Harkin Statement on Department of Education’s Proposed Gainful Employment Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today released the following statement regarding the Department of Education's proposed gainful employment rule: "I am grateful the Secretary moved forward with the re-regulation of this important rule. Based on what I've seen so far, however, I once again have serious concerns with this proposed rule's ability to protect students and taxpayers from costly programs th… Continue Reading


03.13.14

Child Care Bill is 17th Bipartisan HELP Committee Bill to Clear Senate in 113th Congress under Chairman Harkin's Leadership

MEMO The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014, passed by the U.S. Senate today, is the 17th bipartisan bill in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee's jurisdiction to pass the Senate in the 113th Congress under Chairman Tom Harkin's leadership. Eleven of these bills have already been signed into law. These achievements are particularly significant in a Senate that has struggled as a result of Republican obstructionism. "The members of the HELP Committ… Continue Reading


03.13.14

Bipartisan Bill to Help American Families Access Safe, Affordable, and Quality Child Care Clears Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Bipartisan legislation to help American families access safe, affordable, and quality child care has cleared the Senate with strong support from senators on both sides of the aisle. U.S. Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Richard Burr (R-NC) released the following statements today after the Senate passed the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014, a bipartisan reauthorization that will improve the quality of child… Continue Reading


03.13.14

Harkin, Baldwin, Miller, DeLauro Introduce Bill to Fight Workplace Harassment

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI); Rep. George Miller (D-CA), senior Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee; and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) today to introduce legislation to give American workers the opportunity to succeed free of workplace harassment. The Fair Employment Protection Act corrects the error of the U.S. Supreme Court's June 2013 decision … Continue Reading


03.13.14

Harkin Applauds Administration Action to Strengthen Overtime Pay Protections

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement in response to the news that today President Obama will direct the U.S. Department of Labor to begin the process of administratively strengthening overtime pay protections for millions of workers through updates to the rules that carry out the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In 2012, Harkin proposed updating the overtime regulations and ex… Continue Reading


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

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