Ranking Member's Press

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


05.19.10

Harkin Honored by Harvard School of Public Health for Leadership on Prevention and Wellness

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) was honored today by the Harvard School of Public Health for his leadership in developing policies that support and promote good nutrition, healthier lifestyles and disease prevention. Harkin was named the 2010 Healthy Cup Award winner at a lecture sponsored by the School's Nutrition Round Table entitled "From Menu Labeling to School Nutrition: How Government Programs Encourage Healthier Living." Harkin chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and… Continue Reading


05.18.10

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the HELP Committee Hearing “ESEA Reauthorization: Supporting Student Health, Physical Education and Well-Being”

"Today's hearing will explore how physical activity, good health and sound nutrition can enhance students' ability to succeed in school and in life. "It alarms me that many health experts now predict that today's generation of kids will be the first to have a shorter lifespan than their parents. Our young people are confronted by a twin epidemic of obesity and diabetes. And many children are now experiencing health problems that used to affect adults almost exclusively, including adult-onse… Continue Reading


05.11.10

Harkin: Task Force Report to Address Childhood Obesity Epidemic is a Roadmap to a Healthier America

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, praised the action plan released by the Task Force on Childhood Obesity this morning. On February 9th, the President created the interagency Task Force and directed it to produce a plan within 90 days. The plan, titled "Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within a Generation," aims to bring the childhood obesity rate down from 17 percent today to 5 percent, where it was be… Continue Reading


05.06.10

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the HELP Committee Hearing “Ensuring Fairness for Older Workers”

"The Committee will come to order. We have convened this hearing to examine the issue of employment discrimination against older workers and the need, in the face of a very misguided and harmful Supreme Court decision, to enact legislation to ensure that older workers are treated with the fairness they deserve. "We will hear today from my fellow Iowan, Jack Gross. Jack devoted the prime of his life, over a quarter century of loyal service, to one company. How did the company reward him for… Continue Reading


05.05.10

Senate HELP Committee Approves CNS, DOE, DOL, NMLS Board and PBGC 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 nine nominations en bloc this afternoon to fill positions at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the Department of Education, the Department of Labor, the National Museum and Library Services Board and the Corporation for National and Community Service. To accommodate members' schedules, the Executive Session was held off the Sen… Continue Reading


05.05.10

Harkin Names HELP Committee Team Leaders, New Investigation Unit

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), today announced the selection of his team leaders for health, education and labor and the development of a new investigation unit for the Committee. "The opportunities before this Committee are limitless, but they center around the issues that touch the daily lives of all Americans - ensuring access to affordable, quality health care and a continued investment in rec… Continue Reading


05.04.10

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the HELP Committee Hearing “ESEA Reauthorization: Improving America’s Secondary Schools”

"Today's hearing, 'Improving America's Secondary Schools,' will explore the challenges facing America's middle and high schools, and how ESEA reauthorization can help states and districts address those challenges. "Without question, among the most serious challenges is the extraordinarily high dropout rate in the United States. Each year, 1.2 million students drop out of school; that's 7,000 per school day. "School dropouts are at a severe disadvantage compared to their peers who earn a dip… Continue Reading


04.29.10

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the HELP Committee Hearing “ESEA Reauthorization: Meeting the Needs of Special Populations”

"I'd like to thank everyone for being here today for our second ESEA hearing in less than 24 hours! Let no one doubt that a strong reauthorization of this legislation is a top priority of this Committee! "I appreciate the time my colleagues have devoted to these hearings. I think they have been tremendously helpful in raising important issues and giving me and my colleagues an opportunity to hear directly from outstanding experts and educators. Their views are proving immensely valuable as w… Continue Reading


04.28.10

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the HELP Committee Hearing “ESEA Reauthorization: Standards and Assessments”

"Today's hearing will focus on the important role that standards and assessments play in our education system. Given the foundational role of standards and assessments, we had planned to have this hearing at the beginning of our ESEA hearing series, but had to reschedule due to the Senate calendar. I want thank our witnesses and the other members of the HELP Committee for their flexibility. "In our previous ESEA hearings, a variety of experts have impressed on us the importance of our coun… Continue Reading


04.27.10

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the HELP Committee Hearing ‘Putting Safety First: Strengthening Enforcement and Creating a Culture of Compliance at Mines and Other Dangerous Workplaces’

"The topic of today's hearing couldn't be more timely, or more important. In the wake of the West Virginia coal mining disaster that killed 29 miners; the refinery explosion in Anacortes, Washington where seven workers died; the disaster that killed six people at a Connecticut natural gas power plant; and just last week a blast on a Louisiana oil rig off the Gulf of Mexico that most likely killed 11 workers, it is time to focus renewed attention on the safety of American workers. This string o… Continue Reading


04.22.10

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the HELP Committee Roundtable Hearing on ESEA Reauthorization: Meeting the Needs of the Whole Student

"I'd like to thank all of you for being here today as we continue to discuss the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Through our previous hearings, we have gained valuable insight into the need for education reform, the Administration's views on how best to meet this challenge, various efforts to turn around our lowest-performing schools, and how to recruit and develop talented educators and school leaders. This afternoon we will hear from experts who specialize in a… Continue Reading


04.20.10

Harkin: Effort to Reduce Americans’ Sodium Intake Will Save Thousands of Lives

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, today applauded the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) effort to reduce the amount of salt consumed by Americans. The effort is based on recommendations made in a report released today by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Harkin, a national leader on prevention and wellness, requested the report in 2008. It was produced by an independent committee of experts representing publ… Continue Reading


04.20.10

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the HELP Committee Hearing "Protection from Unjustified Premiums"

"Good morning. Today this Committee is holding its first hearing on health care since President Obama signed into law the historic Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This Committee will be an active participant in implementation and oversight of that law. As we all know, health reform is not complete with the signing of a bill, and we are fully committed to ensuring a smooth and successful implementation. "A major goal of health reform is to bring down the cost of health care and to… Continue Reading


04.14.10

Harkin Introduces Bill to Keep Educators on the Job

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and of the Senate Appropriations panel that funds education initiatives, introduced the Keep Our Educators Working Act today. The bill will create a $23 billion Education Jobs Fund to help keep teachers, principals, librarians and other school personnel on the job as states face crippling budget shortfalls. Cosponsors of the measure so far include: Senators Begich (D-AK), Bingaman (D-N… Continue Reading


04.13.10

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

"I'd like to thank all of you for being here today as we continue to discuss reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. In our two previous hearings, we gained valuable insight into the need for education reform in order for our country to remain globally competitive; and we heard from Education Secretary Arne Duncan about the Obama Administration's views on how best to meet this challenge. This afternoon, we will hear from experts on turning around underperforming sc… Continue Reading

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