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Learn about policy issues important to medical schools and teaching hospitals, with Executive Vice President Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D.

Washington Highlights

Harkin Announces Plans to Retire, Policy Priorities for HELP Committee for 113th Congress

February 1, 2013—After nearly 40 years in the Congress, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Jan. 26 announced his plans to retire in 2014.

As the top Democrat on the spending panel that determines annual funding levels for agencies under the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Chairman Harkin worked between 1998 and 2003, with his Republican counterpart on the subcommittee at the time, the late Senator Arlen Specter, to double funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

His Senate biography cites the doubling effort, stem cell research, and other public health initiatives among his legislative accomplishments, including his active role in drafting the Affordable Care Act’s prevention and wellness title and the Americans with Disabilities Act, his self-described “signature achievement.” He also has championed initiatives at the Department of Education, which falls under the jurisdiction of the appropriations subcommittee as well.

In 2009, he was tapped to lead the HELP Committee, the authorizing counterpart to the spending panel, after the death of Senator Ted Kennedy. He stepped down from his longtime role at the helm of the Senate Agriculture Committee to take the role.

In his statement, Chairman Harkin cited two reasons for his decision to leave the Senate: for his family and “to make way for someone new in this Senate seat.”

Additionally, he announced his policy priorities for the HELP committee in the 113th Congress.  On his list of priorities, he plans to move “forward with bills to ensure that all Americans are able to achieve the promise of a quality education – beginning in early childhood, continuing through elementary and high school, and culminating with higher education” and ensure “the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”

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For More Information

Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806
Email: jkleinman@aamc.org