Ranking Member's Press

12.21.11

Harkin Applauds Deal to Make More New York City Cabs Wheelchair Accessible

WASHINGTON - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, applauded an agreement announced last night between New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to create 2,000 more wheelchair-accessible cabs. Harkin, a longtime champion of disability rights, sent a letter to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg earlier this year urging him to select a wheelchair accessible taxi in the city's "Taxi of Tomorrow" competi… Continue Reading


12.21.11

Harkin Praises NLRB’s Efforts to Modernize Election Rules

WASHINGTON - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, released the following statement welcoming the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) decision to finalize modernized election rules, which will clear the way for workers to vote on unionization by streamlining regulatory processes: "Today's actions by the NLRB are an important step toward ensuring that every American worker has the same right that powerful CEOs take for granted-t… Continue Reading


12.16.11

Harkin Introduces Bill to Protect Students from Seclusion and Restraint

WASHINGTON-Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, introduced the Keeping All Students Safe Act, a bill to protect students from ineffective and dangerous seclusion and restraint practices in schools. "Every child should be educated in a supportive, caring, stimulating environment in which they are treated as an individual and provided with the tools they need to succeed," Harkin said. "They should never be subjected to abusive o… Continue Reading


12.08.11

Harkin Welcomes Obama Administration’s Efforts to Expand Job Opportunities for Americans with Disabilities

WASHINGTON - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, released the following statement after Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis proposed a new rule requiring federal contractors to set a hiring goal of having 7 percent of their workforces be people with disabilities. Harkin, chief sponsor in the Senate of the ADA, has held several HELP Committee hearings on increasing employment for Americans with disabilities, after setting the goal earlier… Continue Reading


12.06.11

In Senate Floor Speech, Harkin Reads from Iowa Letters to Urge Extension of Unemployment Benefits

*As Prepared for Delivery* WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today delivered a statement on the floor of the U.S. Senate calling for Congress to extend unemployment benefits. On Thursday, Harkin will convene a HELP Committee hearing to hear from Americans facing long-term unemployment, and examine the barriers and challenges they face in finding reemployment. "There are 13 million unemployed America… Continue Reading


12.06.11

Harkin Statement on Mine Safety Report on Cause of Upper Big Branch Disaster

WASHINGTON - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, released the following statement after the Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration issued their final report on the tragedy at the Upper Big Branch mine, citing an irresponsible corporate culture as the root cause of the disaster and fining the mine's owner, Massey Energy, more than $10 million dollars: "Today's report confirms what we have long known - that blat… Continue Reading


12.01.11

Harkin, Baucus Cheer Progress Controlling Costs for Seniors, Improving Coverage in Medicare Advantage

Washington, DC - Senate Health, Labor, Education and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) today touted recent progress in Medicare Advantage (MA) reining in costs, increasing coverage and maintaining high-quality care for seniors. A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which the senators requested earlier this year, showed significant decreases in premiums and gains in enrollment, even outperforming 2011 proj… Continue Reading


12.01.11

Harkin Calls on FDA to Move Quickly to Reduce Contaminants in Fruit Juice

WASHINGTON-Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, sent a letter to Dr. Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), urging swift action to set limits for total arsenic and lead in fruit juices. A study released yesterday by Consumer Reports showed nearly 25 percent of tested apple juice and grape juice samples exceeded the federal limit for lead in bottled water, and 10 percent exceeded the limit for … Continue Reading


11.30.11

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin on Boeing Settlement

WASHINGTON - Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, spoke on the floor of the Senate in response to news of a settlement between Boeing and the International Association of Machinists. Below are his full remarks, as prepared for delivery: "I rise today to congratulate the President of the Machinists Union, Tom Buffenbarger, and Boeing's CEO, Jim McNerney, on their agreement today to extend their current contract for four years.… Continue Reading


11.14.11

Harkin Statement on Supreme Court’s Decision to Consider Affordable Care Act Case

WASHINGTON - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, released the following statement on today's announcement that the United States Supreme Court will review the challenges to the Affordable Care Act: "I'm pleased that the Supreme Court has decided to promptly resolve conflicting lower court decisions concerning the Affordable Care Act. These politically-motivated lawsuits are a waste of judicial resources, and an unnecessary distrac… Continue Reading


11.10.11

Harkin Discusses Education Reform on Senate Floor

WASHINGTON - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, spoke on the Senate floor to discuss his ongoing efforts to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and in doing so, move beyond the law's most recent iteration, the No Child Left Behind Act. Last month, the HELP Committee approved a bipartisan bill that will set high expectations for all children to graduate from high school ready for college and careers, support teac… Continue Reading


11.08.11

Senators Urge Justice Department, FDA to Appeal Ruling that Bars Implementation of New Tobacco Warning Labels

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) today sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging an immediate appeal of a U.S. District Court decision that halts the implementation of the FDA's new graphic warning labels on cigarette packages. The labels were set to take effect next fall. "More deaths are caused each … Continue Reading


11.08.11

Harkin Statement at HELP Committee Roundtable, "Beyond NCLB: Views on the Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization Act"

*As Prepared for Delivery* "Today's roundtable will focus on moving beyond NCLB-the current iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)-and towards reauthorization of the law for the needs of the 21st Century. Over the last two years the Committee has held 10 hearings on the full range of issues covered under the law. I have also held numerous stakeholder meetings and participated in lengthy negotiations with my Republican colleagues, which resulted in a bill that was voted o… Continue Reading


11.07.11

Harkin Statement on Court Ruling to Block New Tobacco Warning Labels

WASHINGTON - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, released the following statement after a federal district judge blocked the Food and Drug Administration's effort to make Americans aware of the health risks of cigarettes through graphic warnings that, when finalized, will appear on cigarette packages and advertisements. These new warnings are required by Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, historic legislation sponsor… Continue Reading


10.20.11

HELP Committee Approves Bipartisan Bill to Fix No Child Left Behind

WASHINGTON - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, announced that the bipartisan Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization Act passed out of committee by a bipartisan vote of 15 to 7. The legislation, which overhauls the No Child Left Behind Act, will now be sent to the full Senate for consideration. "Tonight is a victory - both for our nation's children and for bipartisanship. After more than two years of hearings, debate,… Continue Reading


10.19.11

UPDATE: HELP Committee to Continue to Move Forward on Bill to Reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act

WASHINGTON - The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee mark up of legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) will continue TOMORROW at 8 A.M. The comprehensive bill reflects 10 months of bipartisan negotiations between Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Mike Enzi (R-WY), and addresses many of the problems created by ESEA's most recent reauthorization, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), while advancing America's commitment to helping all child… Continue Reading


10.17.11

Harkin, Enzi Announce Bipartisan Support for Moving Forward with Education Reform Bill

WASHINGTON - Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Mike Enzi (R-WY), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today announced an agreement to move forward with bipartisan legislation to overhaul the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). "This opportunity is the result of more than two years of hearings, debate, and negotiations," said Senator Harkin. "Through this bipartisan effort, we have produced legislation that represents an important step … Continue Reading


09.27.11

Harkin Welcomes Grants to Create Healthier Communities

WASHINGTON - Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, praised the Department of Health and Human Services' announcement of $100 million in Community Transformation Grants, authorized by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Harkin, the author of the ACA's prevention and wellness provisions, led the charge to create this grant program under the new Prevention and Public Health Fund, which will support localities in creating new initiatives… Continue Reading


09.23.11

Harkin Marks One-Year Anniversary of Patient's Bill of Rights

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today marked the one-year anniversary of crucial health care protections that have already benefitted millions of Americans. Established under the Affordable Care Act and known as the Patient's Bill of Rights, these protections have banned many insurance company abuses, and put consumers, not insurance companies, in control of their health care. This week, the Centers for Disease Control released a survey showing that there were 900,000 fewer uninsur… Continue Reading


09.22.11

Harkin Statement on Obama’s Announcement of NCLB Waivers

WASHINGTON - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, issued the following statement after President Barack Obama announced that he would allow states to apply for waivers from certain parts of No Child Left Behind in exchange for state-led efforts to close achievement gaps, promote rigorous accountability, and ensure that all students are on track to graduate college- and career-ready: "For the last two years, I have been working in a b… Continue Reading

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