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Sen. Tom Harkin
Tom Harkin is a product of small town Iowa who has not forgotten his origins. He was born November 19, 1939 to a coal miner father and a Slovenian immigrant mother who passed away when Tom was ten years old. Tom, his three brothers and two sisters and their parents shared a two-bedroom home in Cumming, Iowa. It remains his home today. Tom is a fourth generation Iowan, a father, grandfather, a Navy veteran, and a graduate of Iowa State University.

Tom served in the House of Representatives for ten years and, in 1984, challenged an incumbent Senator and won. Iowans returned him to the U.S. Senate in 1990, 1996, 2002, and 2008.

Entries by Sen. Tom Harkin

The Social Security Debate Is About More Than Politics

(22) Comments | Posted December 16, 2013 | 9:31 AM

To read some of the headlines over the past few weeks, it is clear that the chattering class in Washington is once again trying to scare the American public about the future of Social Security. These fear-mongers would have you believe that Social Security is driving our nation further into...

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The Framers Never Envisioned a 60 Vote Supermajority

(377) Comments | Posted November 29, 2013 | 9:23 AM

In the wake of Senate action last week to restore the Senate practice that nominees receive an up or down vote, there has been a great deal of hyperventilating about whether the rules change is consistent with the intent of the Founders and what it means for the future of...

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On 50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, We Must Make Equal Pay for Equal Work a Reality

(10) Comments | Posted June 10, 2013 | 6:01 PM

Fifty years ago today, President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, enshrining in law the principle that a worker should be judged and compensated based not on gender, but on his or her qualifications, skills and performance.

Five decades later, as we celebrate the anniversary of the Equal Pay...

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Equal Pay Day: Fairness for America's Women

(25) Comments | Posted April 9, 2013 | 9:55 AM

In 1963, Congress enacted the Equal Pay Act to end unfair discrimination against women in the workforce. At that time, 25 million female workers earned just 60 percent of the average pay for men. April 9th is Equal Pay Day, the day American women's earnings for 2012 catch up with...

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On 35th Anniversary of Mine Safety and Health Act, Still More Work to Do

(0) Comments | Posted March 12, 2013 | 11:09 AM

At one time, Iowa was the third-largest coal-producing state in the nation, and my father -- after many years working in coal mines -- was stricken with black lung that left him prone to pneumonia and made it difficult for him to work. Although he stopped working in the mines...

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Don't Sacrifice the Middle Class on the Fiscal Cliff

(24) Comments | Posted December 13, 2012 | 1:41 PM

The American public made it clear on November 6: Their top priorities are good jobs and a demand-driven, full recovery from the worst economic crisis to hit the country since the Great Depression.

With the so-called "fiscal cliff" looming, we have to ensure that any grand bargain rejects damaging cuts...

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A Real Proposal to Strengthen Social Security

(159) Comments | Posted December 7, 2012 | 1:26 PM

It's become an article of faith among certain "serious" people in Washington that any agreement to rein in deficits must include cuts to Social Security. I couldn't disagree more strongly. After all, Social Security can pay full benefits until 2033, by law it is not allowed to add...

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Disability Employment: Are We at the Tipping Point?

(171) Comments | Posted July 16, 2012 | 3:39 PM

Later this month, when our country marks the 22nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, many of the law's champions will lament that the employment situation for our citizens with disabilities has not improved since the ADA was signed.

In recent years, that situation has gotten worse. According...

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Forty Years and Counting: The Triumphs of Title IX

(9) Comments | Posted June 22, 2012 | 4:22 PM

Over the past century, women have made remarkable strides towards equal rights and equal participation in American society. We now take for granted the idea that a girl can grow up to become a doctor, lawyer, or astronaut -- whatever she wants to be. However, there was a time in...

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We've Got Your 6

(11) Comments | Posted May 21, 2012 | 12:31 PM

Over the next five years, more than a million military service members will return to civilian life. In the years immediately following World War II, the successful reintegration of veterans into our communities and civilian workforce was a key factor in the remarkable post-war growth of the U.S. economy and...

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Preserving Social Security

(337) Comments | Posted April 23, 2012 | 3:31 PM

It might surprise many in Washington, but if you ask hardworking Americans what their greatest economic concern is they don't say budget deficits or the national debt. No, what I hear most often from Americans is that they are frightened at the prospect of being financially insecure in retirement.

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Republican Attacks on Workers' Rights Won't Create Jobs

(182) Comments | Posted November 15, 2011 | 9:14 AM

With working families struggling to make ends meet and Americans taking to the streets to protest the growing gap between the haves and have-nots, it is long past time for Congress to start coming up with real solutions that will create jobs and rebuild a strong American middle class. Unfortunately,...

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On Food Day, Count Our Blessings and Make a Difference

(0) Comments | Posted October 24, 2011 | 2:17 PM

Since the first Thanksgiving almost 400 years ago, Americans have spent each fall counting our blessings for the abundance produced by this continent's food and agriculture system. It is a gift that has kept on giving: We Americans today are, in general, able to consume more food, with more variety...

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Unsung Heroes: Recognizing Our Public Servants

(74) Comments | Posted May 6, 2011 | 10:39 AM

They will probably never see their names in lights or walk on a red carpet, but our public servants -- from police officers to firefighters, from sanitation crews to social security personnel, from teachers to postal workers -- are the unsung heroes of our communities. They have dedicated their careers...

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Stem-Cell Research Must Go Forward

(8) Comments | Posted October 7, 2010 | 9:53 AM

The Aug. 23 ruling by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth halting federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research has had a chilling effect on one of the most promising fields of biomedical inquiry. A U.S. Court of Appeals has stayed Judge Lamberth's preliminary injunction, allowing funding to continue while the case...

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Hands Off the Prevention Fund!

(5) Comments | Posted September 13, 2010 | 9:22 AM

This week, Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) is due to offer an amendment to the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act that could effectively kill the Prevention and Public Health Fund. This would be a grave mistake.

Bear in mind that a major transformational element of the new health reform...

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Americans with Disabilities Act at 20: A Nation Transformed

(33) Comments | Posted July 26, 2010 | 8:33 AM

The Americans with Disabilities Act -- signed into law on July 26, 1990 -- has been described as the Emancipation Proclamation for people with disabilities. It sets four goals for people with disabilities: equal opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency.

But at its heart, the ADA is...

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For-Profit Colleges And The Threat Of A New Bubble

(18) Comments | Posted July 13, 2010 | 1:16 PM

Haven't we heard this story before? It features a high-pressure sales force persuading consumers in search of the American dream to go deep into debt to purchase a product of often dubious value. Default rates are sky high. Taxpayer money is squandered. Top executives walk away with fortunes.

This sounds...

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Protecting Consumers From Unfair ATM Fees

(98) Comments | Posted May 11, 2010 | 5:27 PM

Every American at some point has stood in front of an ATM and gasped as the screen showed just how much the machine was charging you to access cash from your very own bank account. The national average per ATM transaction is $2.50, but in some parts of the country,...

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Ensuring Fairness for Older Workers

(18) Comments | Posted May 7, 2010 | 11:19 AM

Yesterday morning, the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions heard testimony from a variety of witnesses on a pressing, national issue -- the need to ensure fairness for older workers. We heard from the chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a leader from AARP, who both described...

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