Ranking Member's Press

07.22.11

Harkin Leads Group of Senators Pushing for Full Funding for Students with Disabilities

WASHINGTON - With next week's 21st Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) approaching, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced the IDEA Full Funding Act, which would fulfill the federal government's 36-year-old commitment to cover 40% of the excess cost of educating students with disabilities. "This bill represents a necessary step for improving educational outcomes for students with disabilities and preparing them to reach their potential and secure competitive employment in our… Continue Reading


07.15.11

Harkin Op-Ed: "Take disabled New Yorkers for a ride: Make the Taxi of Tomorrow accessible to all"

In January, I wrote Mayor Bloomberg regarding New York City's Taxi of Tomorrow project, encouraging him to select a design for the fleet that would be accessible for the thousands of New York residents and visitors who use wheelchairs. New Yorkers and tourists - whether they're disabled veterans or people like Karl Nguyen, the Californian suffering from a debilitating bone disease, about whom the Daily News editorial page wrote movingly last week - deserve to be able to get around thi… Continue Reading


07.14.11

Harkin Statement at HELP Committee Hearing “Lessons from the Field: Learning from What Works for Employment for Persons with Disabilities”

*As Prepared for Delivery* The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will come to order. The title of this hearing is "Lessons from the Field: Learning from What Works for Employment for Persons with Disabilities." The purpose of today's bipartisan hearing is to learn from a diverse group of witnesses about proven strategies that have a positive impact on employment outcomes for all people with disabilities, including young adults and veterans. Later this month, we will … Continue Reading


07.12.11

Harkin Statement at HELP Committee Hearing: “The Power of Pensions: Building a Strong Middle Class and Strong Economy ”

*As Prepared for Delivery* I want to welcome everyone to the latest in our series of hearings focusing on retirement security. Today, we are going to take a close look at the important role pensions can play in building a strong, vibrant middle class, both in terms of the economic security they provide to retired Americans and because of the role they play in growing our nation's economy and creating jobs. After a lifetime of hard work, every American deserves to feel secure and independent i… Continue Reading


07.11.11

Harkin Statement on Efforts to Create Affordable Insurance Exchanges

WASHINGTON - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), the Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement after the Department of Health and Human Services announced proposed rules to help states establish state-based competitive marketplaces where Americans and small businesses will be able to purchase affordable health insurance. To mark the one year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act this March, Harkin convened a HELP Committee hearing to… Continue Reading


06.29.11

Senators Condemn For-Profit Colleges’ Mistreatment of America’s Veterans

HELP Committee Data Shows One Quarter of Post 9/11 G.I. Bill Education Benefits Went to 15 For-Profit Higher Education Companies Last Year WASHINGTON - Following last night's PBS Frontline segment documenting the mistreatment of America's veterans by some for-profit colleges, a group of Senators condemned the practices brought to light. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), along with Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), … Continue Reading


06.23.11

Harkin: “Social contract has disappeared” for American Middle Class

WASHINGTON-Today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee heard testimony from Americans who are struggling to make ends meet and those who are studying the decline of the middle class. After delivering a speech on the Senate floor yesterday decrying Washington's focus on cutting the deficit at the expense of needed investments in job creation, Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) shared his view that middle class families are the backbone of the American economy, but are being largely… Continue Reading


06.22.11

Harkin Floor Statement on NLRB’s Proposed Voting Rules

WASHINGTON-Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, spoke on the Senate floor in support of modernized elections rules proposed yesterday by the National Labor Relations Board. Below are his full remarks as prepared for delivery: "In 1912, women went on strike at a textile plant in Lawrence, Massachusetts. They inspired the nation when they walked the picket line with signs that said: "We want bread, but we want roses too." Tho… Continue Reading


06.21.11

Harkin Praises NLRB's Proposed Voting Rules

WASHINGTON-Today , Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, released the following statement in response to the National Labor Relations Board's proposal of modernized election rules, which will clear the way for workers to vote on unionization by streamlining regulatory processes: "To ensure a strong economic recovery, America needs a strong middle class," Harkin said. "A key part of rebuilding the middle class is ensuring that every Am… Continue Reading


06.20.11

Harkin Statement on Supreme Court Decision to Block Wal-Mart Sex Discrimination Suit

WASHINGTON - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, released the following statement after the Supreme Court ruled that a sex discrimination class-action suit against Wal-Mart cannot move forward: "At a time when women make only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has made it more difficult for Betty Dukes and the other women who have been victims of sex discrimination to have their day in c… Continue Reading


06.16.11

Harkin Welcomes National Prevention Strategy

WASHINGTON - Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) joined members of the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council, including Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, among others, to unveil the National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy. Harkin, Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, authored the provision that establish… Continue Reading


06.07.11

Harkin Statement the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Hearing "Drowning in Debt: Financial Outcomes of Students at For-Profit Colleges"

*As Prepared for Delivery* "Four years ago, America was caught off guard by the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Fast talking sales people deceived consumers into taking out loans that they knew would never be paid back, and financial speculators hid the risk and passed the debt off to investors. What has become clear over the past year, through this Committee's investigation, is that there is a class of subprime colleges within the for-profit sector that are doing the exact same thing. Instead of … Continue Reading


06.02.11

Harkin Statement on Gainful Employment Rule

WASHINGTON - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds education, released the following statement on the final Gainful Employment rule: "The Department of Education's Gainful Employment rule is a modest and important first step to protect students and taxpayers from subprime academic programs that have a demonstrated track record of failure. At a time when Congress is concerned about the gro… Continue Reading


05.26.11

Harkin Introduces Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) reintroduced the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act, legislation that builds on the work of Mrs. Shriver by reauthorizing the Special Olympics Sport and Empowerment Act, whose programs support people with disabilities through health, education, and initiatives around the world. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) joined Harkin in sponsoring the bill. The bill would continue grants for classroom programs and activities designed to support schools that encourage acceptanc… Continue Reading


05.19.11

Harkin Reveals Deceptive Marketing Employed by For-Profit Colleges to Profit Off Veterans and Servicemembers

WASHINGTON-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, spoke on the Senate floor today to reveal strategies that for-profit education companies use to enroll veterans and active-duty service members in order to profit off their Post 9/11 G.I. Bill education benefits. An investigation of the for-profit education industry by Chairman Harkin has revealed that on average, 55 percent of students who attend many of these schools drop out within a… Continue Reading


05.17.11

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin at the HELP Committee Hearing: “A Nation Prepared: Strengthening Medical and Public Health Preparedness and Response”

*As Prepared for Delivery* "I am pleased to convene this hearing today on a very important issue-defending our Nation against public health threats. "Such threats are diverse in origin and include exposure to chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear agents. Sometimes these threats occur naturally-the 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza, for example-or they can be the result of malicious intent-such as the intentional release of anthrax in 2001. A recent and very challenging example is t… Continue Reading


05.12.11

Fairness for Employees? Harkin Questions Huge Pay Gap between Employees and Executives

WASHINGTON - At a hearing this morning to examine the shrinking American middle class, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) challenged a Boeing Company executive to justify why his own compensation increased by 34% in one year while the average Boeing employee's compensation has increased by only 3% in the last twenty years. To illustrate this trend of growing income inequality in America, Harkin questioned Boeing General Counsel Michael Luttig if it… Continue Reading


05.12.11

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin at Committee Hearing to Examine Shrinking of America's Middle Class

*As Prepared for Delivery* "As I have traveled through Iowa and across the country, I have heard from more and more hardworking middle class families who feel that the American Dream is slipping away. I recently received a letter from one of my constituents, who wrote: My own disposable income has disappeared, and I am not alone. Where I once joined friends occasionally for a lunch 'out,' that no longer happens. I don't buy new clothes. I don't travel. My friends and neighbors, formerl… Continue Reading


05.11.11

Harkin Floor Statement on Attacks on National Labor Relations Board

WASHINGTON-Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, spoke on the Senate floor to address recent attacks on the National Labor Relations Board regarding its handling of a complaint against Boeing. Below are his full remarks as prepared for delivery: "Mr. President, recently, the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint against the Boeing Company alleging that the company violated the National Labor Relations Act. This r… Continue Reading


05.10.11

HELP Committee to Examine Why the Middle Class is Shrinking

WASHINGTON - Thursday at 9:15 A.M., Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, will convene the first in a series of events to examine why the middle class is increasingly slipping out of reach for Americans. As corporate profits reach record levels, and the gulf between workers' wages and their bosses' salaries is larger than ever before, the Committee will discuss the policy decisions that have played a role in the erosion of the middle … Continue Reading

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