Ranking Member's Press

06.29.10

Harkin: ‘F as in Fat’ Report Could Also Stand for ‘F is for Fight’ Obesity at Every Level

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement today on the Trust for America's Health new report "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future." The report shows that, among other things, adult obesity rates increased in 28 states in the past year, and declined only in the District of Columbia. It also found that more than two-thirds of states (38) have adult obesity rates above 25 percent. In 1991, no state had an obesity rate above 20 percent. Harkin … Continue Reading


06.29.10

Harkin Applauds Program to Reinsure Early Retirees

Washington, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today applauded the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (OCIIO) for beginning to accept applications into the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP). This program was created to provide a bridge for employers, including businesses, unions, state and local governments and nonprofits, so retirees can obtain quality, affordable insurance prior to the opening of the health insurance Exchanges … Continue Reading


06.28.10

HELP Committee to Hold Hearing on the Continuing Needs of Workers and Communities Affected by 9/11

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today announced the panel will hold a hearing titled "Examining the Continuing Needs of Workers and Communities Affected by 9/11." The goal of this hearing is to learn more about the health needs of workers and residents affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks and about the governmental response to those needs. In the years since 9/11 it has become clear that many people… Continue Reading


06.24.10

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the HELP Committee Hearing on the Federal Investment in For-Profit Institutions of Higher Education

"For more than 50 years, the Federal government has provided students with grants and loans to help pay for college. That's a public-private partnership between the government and students. It is an investment premised on the idea that a higher education will improve life for the borrower, and also will strengthen our society by giving more Americans the knowledge and skills to get good jobs and give back to their communities. "In the past two years, Congress has provided significant new re… Continue Reading


06.24.10

HELP Chairman’s Report Shows Need for Federal Oversight of For-Profit Colleges and Universities

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A new report raises significant concerns about the return on federal investment in financial aid at for-profit colleges and universities. The report, titled "Emerging Risk?: An Overview of Growth, Spending, Student Debt and Unanswered Questions in For-Profit Higher Education," was unveiled today by the Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA). Later today, the Committee will conduct its first oversight hearing … Continue Reading


06.24.10

Emerging Risk?: An Overview of Growth, Spending, Student Debt and Unanswered Questions in For-Profit Higher Education

To view the report, click on the link "For Profit Emerging Risk Report" under "Related Files".… Continue Reading


06.22.10

Harkin: New Patient’s Bill of Rights Another Promise of Health Reform Coming to Reality

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement praising regulations issued today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that would implement a new Patient's Bill of Rights under the health reform bill, The Affordable Care Act. For most plans starting on or after September 23, these new rules would, among other things, stop insurance companies from excluding children with pre-exi… Continue Reading


06.21.10

HELP Committee to Hold First Hearing on Oversight of Federal Education Dollars at For-Profit Colleges

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today announced the witnesses for the first hearing in a series intended to examine federal education spending at for-profit higher education institutions. The series will examine a broad range of issues related to the growing role of the for-profit higher education sector, including the scope and rapid growth of the federal investment in for-profit higher education and the corr… Continue Reading


06.17.10

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the HELP Committee Hearing “Leveling the Playing Field: Protecting Workers and Businesses Affected by Misclassification”

"I want to welcome everyone to today's hearing. We're here today to talk about worker misclassification, an issue of critical importance to millions of working men and women across the country. "We all know that these are very difficult times for our economy, especially for working families. Millions of Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck, and employees across the nation are working hard but still struggling to make ends meet. "Over the past few years, it has become clear that a … Continue Reading


06.16.10

Harkin: Administration’s Student Aid Rule Will Protect Borrowers; Increase Accountability of Federal Education Funding

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Education proposed a broad set of rules and definitions to strengthen the federal student aid programs. The Department is proposing, among the regulations, a requirement that proprietary institutions of higher education and postsecondary vocational institutions provide prospective students with their programs' graduation and job placement rates, and that colleges provide the Department… Continue Reading


06.15.10

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the HELP Committee Hearing “Evaluating the Health Impacts of the Gulf of Mexico Spill”

"Thank you all for attending this important hearing. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico - more accurately called an oil well blowout - is an unprecedented environmental and human disaster. On April 20, the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 workers, a terrible tragedy. The explosion set about a chain of events that has led to the worst oil spill in U.S history. The most recent estimates are that the deep-sea well is spewing between 25,000 and 30,000 barrels of oil per day,… Continue Reading


06.11.10

Harkin: In Signing Executive Order, President Institutes First Federal Inter-Agency Prevention Effort

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement after President Obama signed an executive order establishing the National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council. The Council was authorized under the new health reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Harkin, who now chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, crafted the Prevention and Public Health title of the HELP Committee's health reform pro… Continue Reading


06.10.10

Harkin Statement in Honor of the 47th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act

Washington, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement in honor of the 47th anniversary of the signing of the Equal Pay Act on June 10, 1963. Harkin is a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would strengthen penalties for discrimination, and has introduced the Fair Pay Act, which would require employers to provide equal pay for equivalent jobs and disclose pay scales and rates for all job categories at a given company. This legislation would give women the i… Continue Reading


06.10.10

Chairman Harkin Announces HELP Oversight Hearings of Federal Education Dollars at For-Profit Colleges

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today announced that he plans to hold a series of hearings to examine federal education spending at for-profit higher education institutions. The hearings will begin June 24th. "In the past two years we have made major new investments to expand federal financial aid," said Harkin. "Pell Grants and student loans now provide more than $20 billion to for-profit higher education … Continue Reading


06.09.10

HELP Committee to Examine Health Impacts of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today announced the panel will hold a hearing next week titled "Evaluating the Health Impacts of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill." The hearing will examine the effects of the BP oil spill and its cleanup efforts on public health and what can be done to minimize the negative impacts. There are many concerns and unknowns regarding the health effects of the oil spill on the workers… Continue Reading


06.08.10

Harkin: Latest IOM Report Shows to Close Existing Food Safety Gaps We Must Pass Comprehensive Food Safety Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement today after the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a new report entitled "Enhancing Food Safety: The Role of the Food and Drug Administration." In 2008, Congress directed FDA to contract with the National Academies for a study of the gaps in FDA's food safety system and this report is the result. On November 18, 2009, the HELP Committee approv… Continue Reading


05.27.10

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the HELP Committee Hearing “Building a Secure Future for Multiemployer Pension Plans”

"I want to welcome everyone to this hearing on an issue of critical importance to workers and businesses alike - the security of our multiemployer pension plans. "There is no question that retirement security has been under siege in this country for years. We have seen a gradual erosion of the traditional defined benefit pension system as companies opt to provide their workers 401(k) plans or, worse yet, nothing at all. "This has left U.S. workers shouldering more and more retirement risk. … Continue Reading


05.25.10

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the HELP Committee Hearing “ESEA Reauthorization: Early Childhood Education”

"I welcome everyone to our tenth and final hearing on reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Though this hearing falls last on the committee's calendar, it addresses the very beginning stages of a child's education. Today's discussion will inform us about what we can do to ensure that more young children begin their education fully prepared to learn and succeed. "We know that learning starts at birth and preparation for learning starts before birth. Yet over three-q… Continue Reading


05.24.10

Harkin Questions FDA in Wake of Johnson & Johnson Children’s Drug Recall

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today sent a letter to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D., following the recall of 40 varieties of childrens' and infants' formulations of Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl by Johnson & Johnson's McNeil Consumer Healthcare. Harkin, who is Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee that has jurisdiction over the FDA, posed questions regarding the recall, events leading up to… Continue Reading


05.24.10

Harkin: Another Salmonella Outbreak, Another Reminder of Urgency for Food Safety Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement today after news that raw alfalfa sprouts had been linked to a Salmonella outbreak in ten states. The tainted sprouts were distributed to a variety of restaurants, delicatessens and retailers, including Trader Joe's and Wal-Mart stores by Caldwell Fresh Foods of Maywood, CA. On November 18, 2009, the HELP Committee reported out the FDA Food Mode… Continue Reading

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