Ranking Member's Press

12.10.09

Senate Help Committee Approves EEOC, CNCS, DOE, NCH, DOL Nominees

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, announced today that the Committee approved eight nominations en bloc this afternoon to fill positions at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the National Council on the Humanities, the Rehabilitation Services Administration at the Department of Education and the Women's Bureau at the Department of Labor. To accommodate… Continue Reading


12.07.09

Senators Call for Fair Elections for Rail & Aviation Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and John Rockefeller (D-WY), Chairman of the Commerce Committee joined by a group of 36 Senators today called on the National Mediation Board to provide fair labor elections for rail and aviation workers. Under current election procedures, a majority of all eligible workers cast a vote for a union in order for those … Continue Reading


11.21.09

Harkin Calls First Procedural Vote on Health Reform a Pivotal Moment

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement after the Senate voted to conclude debate and proceed to consideration of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Harkin is Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. "Tonight, we have taken the first step toward bringing common sense health reform to the American people. Of course, just as we saw in 1935, when Congress voted to establish Social Security, and in 1965, when Cong… Continue Reading


11.18.09

Senate HELP Committee Approves OSHA and HHS Nominees

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, announced today that the Committee approved two key Administration nominees during this morning's Executive Session. David Michaels of Maryland to be an Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and Pamela S. Hyde of New Mexico to be Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Department … Continue Reading


11.17.09

HELP Committee to Consider Food Safety Legislation to Strenghten Public Faith in Food Supply

Washington D.C. - U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP Committee) Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Mike Enzi (R-WY), along with other Senate leaders, today said strengthening public faith in the safety of food is crucial to public health and reaffirmed their commitment to enact bipartisan, comprehensive legislation that will improve the quality of all food in the United States and better protect consumers and their families. Tomorrow, November 18, the H… Continue Reading


11.08.09

Kennedy Holds Hearing on Veterans' Employment Issue Releases Department of Defense data previously withheld from the public

WASHINGTON, DC-Today, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Chairman of the United States Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing to address employment challenges that service members face when returning from a tour of duty. The hearing focused on the enforcement of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) which requires employers to continue to employ members of the Guard and Reserve upon their return from duty. There are four federal agencies th… Continue Reading


11.05.09

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at HELP Committee Hearing on "Pensions in Peril: Helping Workers Preserve Retirement Security Through a Recession"

*As Prepared for Delivery* "Welcome everyone. Today our Committee will hear testimony on an important piece of civil rights legislation - the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, also known as ENDA. "The issue here could not be more simple. We are talking about a fundamental American value - equal treatment for all - a principle that citizens who work hard, pay their taxes and contribute to their communities deserve fair treatment and should not be discriminated against. "Over the last… Continue Reading


10.30.09

Senate HELP Committee to Explore Toll of High Health Costs on Small Businesses

WASHINGTON, DC - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, announced today that the Committee will hold a hearing entitled "Increasing Health Costs Facing Small Businesses." The hearing will explore the toll high health care costs take on America's small businesses, how those costs affect their ability to compete and how this burden can be reduced. The Committee will meet in open session on Tuesday, November 3rd at 2:30 p.m. in room… Continue Reading


10.29.09

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at Hearing on "Pensions in Peril: Helping Workers Preserve Retirment Security Through a Recession"

*As Prepared for Delivery* "I want to welcome everyone to this very timely and important hearing on retirement security. "In these troubled economic times, working families face unprecedented challenges. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs. And those who have jobs are often working harder and longer, but still can't meet the rising costs of basic everyday needs, like health care, education, and housing, let alone save enough to provide for a secure old age "The harsh reality is that th… Continue Reading


10.29.09

Harkin Congratulates Dr. Regina Benjamin on Senate Confirmation as U.S. Surgeon General Says Dr. Benjamin will Usher in a New Era of Prevention and Wellness at the Highest Levels of Public Health

WASHINGTON, DC - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, today issued the following statement following Senate confirmation of Dr. Regina Benjamin, of Alabama, to be U.S. Surgeon General. The HELP Committee approved Dr. Benjamin's nomination on October 7, 2009. "Dr. Regina Benjamin has been a trailblazer in the medical field for over two decades. She has devoted her career to ensuring that Americans receive the best possible health car… Continue Reading


10.22.09

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the HELP Committee hearing on

*AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY* "Good morning everyone. We meet today to discuss an issue of basic importance to all Americans: the safety of our nation's food supply. "There is perhaps no issue that affects Americans as universally as food safety. Safe food is an essential part of our daily lives. And, for many in Iowa and elsewhere, the production, preparation, or sale of food is a source of livelihood. "On the whole, Americans enjoy safe and wholesome food. But, let's be honest, our food can be… Continue Reading


10.22.09

Chairman Harkin applauds passage of comprehensive measure for prevention and treatement of HIV, AIDS

Washington, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement after the Senate passed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 by unanimous consent. "Today marks an important milestone in our ongoing national struggle with HIV and AIDS. Twenty-eight years ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its first warning about the disease we now know as AIDS. Today, we approv… Continue Reading


10.21.09

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at HELP Committee Executive Session on Pending Nominees

"Today we are taking up the President's nominees for a number of positions that perform important roles in our society - defending workers' rights, protecting the Constitutional right to counsel, and preserving our rich national traditions in the humanities. I thank Senator Enzi and his staff for working cooperatively with us to move these nominees through the process. "I would like to say a few words about the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB is a small agency, but its mission is a lar… Continue Reading


10.10.09

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) on Latest Jobs Report Congress Should Extend Unemployment Insurance in Light of New Unemployment Numbers

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), today released the following statement reacting to the U.S. Department of Labor's monthly jobs report. According to the report, the economy lost 263,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent. "We have always known that the damage done to our economy could not be turned around overnight. But for the working families across the country who ar… Continue Reading


10.08.09

Harkin: New State-By-State Report on Health Care Disparities Underscores the Need for National, Quality, Affordable Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee, today issued the following statement on a new report showing state-by-state disparities in health care. The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System's second state scorecard showed the cost and quality of health care, as well as access to care and health outcomes, continue to vary widely among states. Across states, health insurance coverage for adu… Continue Reading


10.07.09

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at HELP Committee Executive Session on Pending Nominees

*As Prepared for Delivery* WASHINGTON, D.C. - Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) today delivered the following opening remarks at the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee's Executive Session on pending nominations. The Committee met to consider the nominations of M. Patricia Smith, of New York, to be Solicitor at the U.S. Department of Labor; Joseph Albert Main, of Virginia, to be Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health; William Edward Spriggs, of Virginia, to be… Continue Reading


10.07.09

Senate HELP Committee Approves Nominees for Labor Solicitor, Surgeon General, Mine Safety and Labor Assistant Secretary for Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee, today announced that the Committee had approved the following pending nominations and sent them to the full Senate for consideration: M. Patricia Smith, of New York, to be Solicitor at the U.S. Department of Labor Joseph Albert Main, of Virginia, to be Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health; William Edward Spriggs, of Virginia, to be Assistant Secretary fo… Continue Reading


10.06.09

GOP Members Voice Opposition to Labor Solicitor Nominee

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today joined the entire Republican membership of the HELP Committee in writing Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) to voice opposition to the nomination of Patricia Smith to be Solicitor of the U.S. Department of Labor. "Our concerns with Ms. Smith's nomination arise out of statements that she made before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee tha… Continue Reading


10.06.09

Bicameral Legislation Will Protect Older Workers from Discrimination; Restore Civil Rights

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, three Chairmen - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Congressman George Miller (D-CA), Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, introduced landmark legislation that restores vital civil rights protections for older workers in the face of the Supreme Court's decision in Gross v. FBL Financial. In Gross, the Supreme Court… Continue Reading


09.25.09

Harkin: New Kaiser Report Shows Health Care Premiums up 131 Percent in the Past 10 Years

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