Ranking Member's Press

04.07.10

Harkin: New Report Reinforces Need to Pass Comprehensive Food Safety Reform Now

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement today regarding a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report on the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) inspections of domestic food facilities. Among its findings, the report identifies significant weaknesses in FDA's inspections of food facilities, including the fact that FDA inspects less than a quarter of food facilities each year, and that more than half of all foo… Continue Reading


04.06.10

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) on the Mining Deaths at Upper Big Branch South Mine

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the statement below following an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia that killed 25 workers, with four workers still missing. Harkin chairs both the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the Labor Appropriations Subcommittee. "My heart goes out to the family members of these 25 men who died, and of the four who are still missing, during this difficult time. As the son of a coal … Continue Reading


03.30.10

Harkin: With President’s Signature, Landmark Education Reform to Increase College Affordability Becomes Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, released the following statement today after President Obama signed into law a landmark package of student lending reforms. "The last few weeks in Washington have been truly historic. Comprehensive health reform is no longer just a promise - it is the law of the land. And with his signature today, President Obama enacts fundamental student loan reform and a historic investmen… Continue Reading


03.26.10

Harkin Fights for Extension of Unemployment Insurance on Senate Floor

Washington, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, today delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor on the importance of extending unemployment insurance. "Let me thank my colleague and dear friend from Michigan, Senator Stabenow, for those kind words. I know of no one who cares more deeply and works harder in this body for the average American family and workers in this country than Debbie Stabenow. She is always the… Continue Reading


03.25.10

Harkin: Landmark Legislation to Increase College Affordability Clears Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, today announced that landmark legislation to make college more affordable and accessible had passed the U.S. Senate. The legislation must now go to the U.S. House for a final vote before heading to the President's desk for his signature. The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2010 was approved today by a vote of 56-43. Prior to the measure being considered in the Se… Continue Reading


03.23.10

With President’s Signature, Comprehensive Health Reform And Harkin-Led Prevention Investments Become Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement after President Obama signed into law The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Senate-passed comprehensive health reform measure approved by the House earlier this week. Harkin, as Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, was on hand at the White House to witness the bill signing. "It's been a long debate and a hard-fought battle, but today, the hundred year struggle to p… Continue Reading


03.22.10

Harkin: GAO Report Suggests Common Sense Fixes to the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) commented today on the findings of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report he requested on the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 (EEOICPA). The EEOICPA provides compensation to workers and their survivors for occupational diseases arising from toxic and radiation exposure in the government's nuclear weapons program. Several Iowans who worked on the Department of Energy's Line 1 are currently pursuing clai… Continue Reading


03.21.10

Harkin: House Vote Sends Strengthened Health Reform Measure to Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) issued the following statement after the U.S. House passed the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010. With this vote, comprehensive health reform has passed and will go to President Obama for his signature. The reconciliation package now heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration next week. Harkin is Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. "With this vote today, the House took a major st… Continue Reading


03.17.10

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the HELP Committee Hearing on the Obama Administration’s ESEA Reauthorization Priorities

"I'd like to thank all of you for being here today for the second in a series of hearings focusing on reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Today's testimony will help inform us as we undertake a bipartisan process to reshape this legislation. We have learned a lot since No Child Left Behind was passed nine years ago, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect the goals of that law while fixing the things that are not working. … Continue Reading


03.11.10

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the HELP Committee Hearing "A Fair Share for All: Pay Equity in the New American Workplace"

"The Committee will come to order. We have convened this hearing to examine the issue of fair pay for women. This is not a new issue. In 1963, responding to the fact that the 25 million female workers in the workforce earned just 60 percent of the average pay for men, Congress enacted the Equal Pay Act to end this unfair discrimination against women in the workforce. This hearing is about reaffirming the basic promise of the Equal Pay Act, that every worker should be judged and compensated b… Continue Reading


03.10.10

Senate HELP Committee Approves Fourteen Nominees to Fill Administration Positions

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, announced today that the Committee approved 14 nominations by voice vote this afternoon to fill positions at the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, the Legal Services Corporation and the National Council on Disability. To accommodate members' schedules, the Executive Session was held off the S… Continue Reading


03.09.10

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the HELP Committee Hearing “The Importance of a World-Class K-12 Education”

"I'd like to thank all of you for being here today for the first in a series of hearings focusing on reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Testimony from educators and experts, this morning and in subsequent hearings, will guide us as we undertake a bipartisan process to reshape this bill. We have learned a lot since No Child Left Behind was passed nine years ago, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect the goals of that b… Continue Reading


03.04.10

Harkin: Salmonella Outbreak Demonstrates Urgency of Passing Comprehensive Food Safety Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement today after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched an investigation into findings of Salmonella Tennessee in hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) manufactured by Basic Food Flavors, Inc., in Las Vegas. HVP is a commonly used ingredient used as a flavor enhancer in many processed foods, including soups, sauces, chilis, stews, hot dogs, gravies, seasoned snack foods, dips and dressings. "Consumers should not ha… Continue Reading


03.04.10

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the HELP Committee Hearing on Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic

"I am very pleased to convene this hearing - the first in a series - to focus on the childhood obesity epidemic and how we can reverse it. "The harsh and sad reality is that, for the first time in our nation's history, we are in danger of raising a generation of children who will live sicker and die younger than the generation before them. Today, all the gains we have made in life expectancy thanks to public health and wellness programs are at risk. And one of the main reasons is the seemingl… Continue Reading


02.25.10

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) Following the White House Summit on Health Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement upon the conclusion of the White House bipartisan summit on health reform. Harkin is Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. "Throughout this summit we heard stories from around the country that tell of the urgency to enact comprehensive health reform: to control spiraling costs, provide needed insurance reforms, reduce our growing deficit and increase coverage. "Rising premium… Continue Reading


02.24.10

Harkin: Today the Senate Takes First Steps Toward Job Creation This Year

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement after the Senate passed the bipartisan Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act by a vote of 70 to 28. The HIRE Act is a bipartisan bill that has the potential to create and save many jobs nationwide this year. The measure will now go on to the U.S. House for consideration. Harkin is the Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. "Far too many Americans have been out of wo… Continue Reading


02.24.10

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the HELP Committee Hearing “A Stronger Workforce Investment System for a Stronger Economy”

"In his State of the Union address last month, President Obama made clear his commitment to getting Americans back to work. As he put it, job creation is 'our number one focus for 2010.' This is why we must act swiftly to ensure that American workers have the education, skills training, and supports they need to compete and thrive in the 21st Century global job market. That is why we have convened this hearing today to examine the future of the Workforce Investment Act, as we move toward reau… Continue Reading


02.22.10

Harkin: With a Bipartisan Summit on the Horizon, the White House has Laid Out a Path Forward for Comprehensive Health Reform this Year

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement after the White House unveiled their health reform proposal. Harkin is Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. "In his State of the Union address, the President made clear that we cannot walk away from health reform. Today, the President put this directive into action and he did so with a proposal that builds on what works, fixes what does not and moves the health reform debate a… Continue Reading


02.09.10

Harkin: Task Force on Childhood Obesity Epidemic Will Move Us Toward a Solution

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement today after meeting at the White House with First Lady Michelle Obama, Cabinet members, business leaders and others on the growing problem of childhood obesity. In 2008, Harkin spearheaded an effort to create the nation's first federal interagency taskforce responsible for developing a national strategy for combating obesity. The Federal Obesity Prevention Act of 2008, which Senators Harkin, Dodd (D-CT) and Bingaman (… Continue Reading


02.04.10

Harkin Congratulates Patricia Smith on Senate Confirmation as Solicitor of Labor

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, today issued the following statement following Senate confirmation of Patricia Smith, of New York, to be Solicitor at the U.S. Department of Labor. The full Senate voted 60 to 37 for confirmation. The HELP Committee approved her nomination on October 7, 2009. "Commissioner Smith is abundantly qualified to serve as Solicitor. She has a very impressive background in labor law … Continue Reading

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