Ranking Member's Press

04.25.13

Harkin, Merkley, Kirk, Polis, Ros-Lehtinen Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to End Workplace Discrimination

Washington, DC - Today, bipartisan coalitions in the Senate and House introduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to prohibit job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Senate bill is sponsored by Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). In the House, Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) have introduced a companion bill. Senator Harkin: "Over… Continue Reading


04.19.13

Draft Proposal to Improve Drug Distribution Security

This discussion draft reflects a yearlong effort to find bipartisan, consensus policy on drug distribution security. Chairman Harkin, Ranking Member Alexander, and Senators Bennet and Burr request that stakeholders provide written responses, including their level of support for the overall proposal in addition to any comments regarding the feasibility of this framework, and any technical feedback. Please submit your written comments by 6pm on Friday, April 26th to drugdistributionsecurity@help.s… Continue Reading


04.19.13

Draft Proposal to Improve Drug Distribution Security

This discussion draft reflects a yearlong effort to find bipartisan, consensus policy on drug distribution security. Chairman Harkin, Ranking Member Alexander, and Senators Bennet and Burr request that stakeholders provide written responses, including their level of support for the overall proposal in addition to any comments regarding the feasibility of this framework, and any technical feedback. Please submit your written comments by 6pm on Friday, April 26th to drugdistributionsecurity@help.s… Continue Reading


04.18.13

Harkin Statement on Adoption of Mental Health Amendment

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement on the adoption of the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act as an amendment to S.649, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013. The mental health legislation, which reauthorizes and improves programs administered by both the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services related to awareness, preventio… Continue Reading


04.18.13

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the HELP Committee Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of Labor-Designate Thomas E. Perez

*As Prepared for Delivery* "I am pleased to welcome our distinguished nominee for Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, and I thank our two Senators from Maryland for their gracious introductions. "As we have just heard, Tom Perez's life is the story of the American Dream. The child of immigrants from the Dominican Republican, he lost his father at a young age. He worked very hard at not-very-glamorous jobs to put himself through Brown University -- working at a warehouse, as a garbage collecto… Continue Reading


04.10.13

Harkin, Alexander Urge Senate to Pass Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today urged the Senate to pass the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act, a mental health package passed by the Committee this morning that reauthorizes and improves programs administered by both the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services related to awareness, prevention, and early identification of mental health conditions. Ea… Continue Reading


04.09.13

Harkin, Alexander Introduce Bipartisan Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and HELP Committee Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today introduced the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act, a mental health package that reauthorizes and improves programs administered by both the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services related to awareness, prevention, and early identification of mental health conditions. Earlier this year, the Committee held … Continue Reading


04.09.13

Harkin Statement on President Obama’s Nominations to Fill NLRB Vacancies

WASHINGTON-Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, released the following statement in reaction to President Obama's decision to nominate a full slate of board members for the National Labor Relations Board: "I am pleased that President Obama has put forth a bipartisan slate of nominees to fill positions on the National Labor Relations Board. It is of paramount importance-for workers, for businesses, and the economy-to have a f… Continue Reading


04.03.13

GAO Uncovers Troubling Practices Carried Out by Financial Firms That Drain Americans’ 401(k) Retirement Savings in Report Requested by Sen. Harkin, Rep. Miller, and Sen. Nelson

WASHINGTON, D.C. - America's workers are often presented with false and misleading information regarding fees and their options on what to do with their 401(k) assets when they leave an employer, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation released today by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Rep. George Miller (D-CA), and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL). Following the release of the report, Harkin, Miller, and Nelson called on the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Treasury to act on GAO's reco… Continue Reading


03.29.13

Harkin, Casey Sign on as Original Cosponsors of Legislation to Strengthen Worker Safety Laws as Investigation Reveals Insufficient Safety Regulations That Have Led to Dozens of Grain Bin Entrapments

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the HELP Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety, have signed on as original cosponsors of the recently-introduced Protecting America's Workers Act (PAWA). The reintroduction of the bill comes as an investigation carried out by National Public Radio (NPR) and the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) revealed a weak federal … Continue Reading


03.22.13

Harkin Statement on the Third Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act

WASHINGTON-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, released the following statement on the third anniversary of the enactment of the Affordable Care Act: "Three years after we passed the most significant health care law since the creation of Medicare, American families are reaping the benefits. Today, patients have access to preventive care without co-pays, women can receive necessary screenings and birth control with no out-of-pocket c… Continue Reading


03.20.13

Harkin Statement on Ongoing Republican Attacks on the National Labor Relations Board

WASHINGTON--Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, issued the following statement in response to the House Education and Workforce Committee's passage of a bill to prevent the National Labor Relations Board from conducting its work: "This bill is just the latest front in the longstanding Republican war on workers' rights," Harkin said. "It is important to remember that it is the Republicans' refusal to act responsibly and conf… Continue Reading


03.20.13

Sen. Harkin, Rep. DeLauro Introduce Healthy Families Act to Allow Workers to Earn Paid Sick Days

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) today reintroduced the Healthy Families Act, legislation that would allow workers to earn paid sick leave to use when they are sick, to care for a sick family member, to obtain preventive care, or to address the impacts of domestic violence. "A full forty percent of private-sector American workers have no access to paid sick days- meaning that they cannot miss a day of work without risking a day's pay or even their job. W… Continue Reading


03.18.13

Harkin Statement on Nomination of Thomas Perez to Serve as U.S. Secretary of Labor

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement today on the nomination of Thomas Perez to serve as the U.S. Secretary of Labor. "I am pleased that President Obama has nominated Thomas Perez to serve as our next Secretary of Labor, a vitally important part of the Cabinet. As the former Maryland Secretary of Labor and as the current Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Mr. Perez has served as… Continue Reading


03.14.13

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) At the HELP Committee Hearing: “Keeping up with a Changing Economy: Indexing the Minimum Wage”

"For several years now I have held hearings focusing on the need to bolster the middle class in this country and restore the American Dream. The American Dream is supposed to be about building a better life. If you work hard and play by the rules, you should be able to support your family, join the middle class, and build a brighter future for your children. "But today, tens of millions of hardworking Americans who are earning at or near the minimum wage can't even aspire to live a middle cl… Continue Reading


03.13.13

Harkin Introduces Legislation to Expand Captioning and Improve Access to Movies

WASHINGTON-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Senate sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP),today introduced two bills that will expand access to captioning and image narration in movie theaters and airplanes. "More than two decades have passed since the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and in that time we have seen a transformation of our physical landscape-from curb cuts to wheelchair … Continue Reading


03.13.13

Harkin Statement on President Obama Signing PAHPA Reauthorization Into Law

WASHINGTON-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement after President Obama signed into law the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013, a bill he sponsored and helped move through the Senate in his role as Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee: "I am pleased that this critical update of PAHPA is now law. As often as we hear about gridlock in Congress, the enactment of PAHPA is an example of a successful biparti… Continue Reading


03.13.13

Statement by Senator Tom Harkin On Amendment to Defund the Affordable Care Act

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, delivered a speech on the Senate floor today denouncing another Republican attack on the Affordable Care Act. Following is the text of his remarks, as prepared for delivery. "Madam President, The Senate has before it today an amendment to the continuing resolution that, at first glance, seems very curious. This amendment would prohibit any funds from being used to ca… Continue Reading


03.13.13

Harkin and Mikulski Introduce Bill to Improve Loan Counseling for Students

WASHINGTON-Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and nine other Senators, introduced the Smarter Borrowing Act, a bill to protect and empower student loan borrowers with effective loan counseling. Last year, student loan debt topped $1 trillion, surpassing credit card debt for the first time. By improving the timing and quality of loan counseling, this bill will en… Continue Reading


03.12.13

Sens. Harkin, Wicker Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Establish Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans of All Ages

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) today introduced bipartisan legislation to establish physical activity guidelines for American children and adults. The Physical Activities Guidelines for Americans Act would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to prepare and promote physical activity guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence at least every ten years. The bill would also direct HHS, five years after the release of each set of guid… Continue Reading

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