March 13, 2014
The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014, passed by the U.S. Senate today, is the 17th bipartisan bill in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s jurisdiction to pass the Senate in the 113th Congress under Chairman Tom Harkin’s leadership. Ten of these bills have already been signed into law. These achievements are particularly significant in a Senate that has struggled as a result of Republican obstructionism.
“The members of the HELP Committee represent a broad ideological spectrum, but time and time again this Congress, we have been able to work together on important measures to strengthen federal child care and workforce training and education programs, defend the public health, protect pensions for charities and cooperatives, and safeguard Americans from discrimination in the workplace,” Harkin said.
“I am encouraged by the Committee’s growing record of bipartisan accomplishments. The work of the HELP Committee, including the passage of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act today, shows that with negotiation and compromise, it is possible for Congress to enact meaningful legislation for the benefit of all Americans and the betterment of our nation. I thank Ranking Member Alexander and all of the members of the Committee who helped make these accomplishments possible,” Harkin added.
A list of the 17 HELP Committee bipartisan bills passed by the Senate in the 113th Congress follows:
Signed into law
1. H.R. 307, Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013 (PAHPA) (Senators Burr, Harkin, Alexander, and Casey)
- Strengthens our nation’s preparedness for and ability to respond to medical and public health emergencies, optimizes state and local all-hazards preparedness and response efforts and collaboration, enhances medical countermeasure activities, and reauthorizes key medical and public health programs, including the BioShield Special Reserve Fund
- S.242 in the Senate; approved by the HELP Committee in February 2013; signed into law in March 2013.
- S. 622, Animal Drug and Animal Generic Drug User Fee Reauthorization Act of 2013 (ADUFA/AGDUFA) (Senators Harkin and Alexander)
- Allows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to collect user fees from sponsors of animal drug and animal generic drug applications, and the agency uses those fees to help fund the review of animal drug applications.
- Approved by the HELP Committee in March 2013; signed into law in June 2013.
- H.R. 1911, Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013 (Senators Alexander, Blunt, Burr, Carper, Coburn, Durbin, Enzi, Harkin, Heller, Hoeven, Isakson, King and McCaskill)
- Amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to establish interest rates for new loans made on or after July 1, 2013.
- Signed into law in August 2013.
- H.R. 2094, School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act (Senators Durbin, Kirk, and Harkin)
- Addresses the rise in diagnoses of food allergies in children by encouraging schools to maintain a supply of epinephrine injectors and to allow trained school personnel to administer an epinephrine injection if a student is experiencing an anaphylactic reaction.
- S.1503 in the Senate; approved by the HELP Committee in October 2013; signed into law in November 2013.
- S. 330, HIV Organ Policy Equity Act (HOPE Act) (Senators Boxer, Coburn, Baldwin, Paul, and Harkin)
- Amends the Public Health Service Act to end the federal ban on research into organ donations from HIV-positive donors to HIV-positive recipients
- Approved by the HELP Committee in March 2013; signed into law in November 2013.
6. H.R. 2747, Streamlining Claims Processing for Federal Contractor Employees Act (Senator Harkin)
o Moves responsibility for wage claims adjustments for federally contracted workers from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to the Department of Labor.
o Approved by the HELP Committee in October 2013; signed into law in November 2013.
- S. 252, Prematurity Research Expansion and Education for Mothers Who Deliver Infants Early (PREEMIE) Reauthorization Act (Senators Alexander, Bennet, and Harkin)
- Authorizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Health Resources and Services Administration to conduct research and education activities relating to preterm labor and delivery and infant mortality.
- Included modified versions of S. 1561, CHIMP Act Amendments and S. 424, National Pediatric Research Network Act
- Approved by the HELP Committee in February 2013; signed into law in November 2013.
- S. 1561, CHIMP Act Amendments of 2013 (Senators Harkin, Alexander, Burr, Landrieu, and Collins)
- Ensures that chimpanzees owned or supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that are no longer used for medical research can continue to receive the care they need in quality settings. The new law will provide flexibility for the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to use already-appropriated funds to pay for care of chimpanzees housed in federal sanctuaries if doing so would be more efficient and economical for the NIH.
- Attached to S. 252 in the House.
- Approved by the HELP Committee in October 2013; signed into law in November 2013.
- S. 424, National Pediatric Research Network Act of 2013 (Senators Brown, Wicker, Blumenthal, Collins, Portman, Whitehouse)
- Amends title IV of the Public Health Service Act to provide for a National Pediatric Research Network, including with respect to pediatric rare diseases or conditions.
- As attached to S. 252 in the House; signed into law in November 2013.
- H.R. 3204, Drug Quality and Security Act (Senators Harkin, Alexander, Franken, Roberts, Bennet, and Burr)
- Clarifies current federal law regarding pharmacy compounding and resolves the patchwork of current federal regulation by applying a uniform standard nationwide. Under Title I of the Drug Quality and Security Act, compounders who wish to practice outside the bounds of traditional pharmacy practice can register as outsourcing facilities, but those who choose to remain traditional pharmacies will continue to be regulated primarily by state boards of pharmacy, as they are in current law. Outsourcing facilities would be subject to oversight by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in much the same way as traditional manufacturers are monitored. FDA will know who these outsourcers are and what they are making, receive adverse event reports about compounded drugs, and have the authority and resources to conduct risk-based inspections.
- The second title of the Drug Quality and Security Act would replace today’s patchwork of state prescription-drug tracing laws by creating a new uniform framework for tracking drugs from the manufacturer to the pharmacy.
- Compounding and track-and-trace bills were approved by the HELP Committee in May 2013. The Drug Quality and Security Act, encompassing both bills, was signed into law in November 2013.
Passed (or attached to legislation) in the Senate
- S.1086, The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014 (Senators Mikulski, Burr, Harkin, and Alexander)
- Expands access to and improves the quality of child care for the more than 1.5 million children and families that benefit from the federal child care subsidy program. This program helps low- and moderate-income parents access and afford child care while they work or attend school.
- Approved by the HELP Committee in September 2013; approved by the Senate in March 2014.
12. S. 815, Employment Non-Discrimination Act (Senators Merkley, Harkin, Kirk, Collins, and Baldwin)
- Prohibits employers from firing, refusing to hire, or discriminating against those employed or seeking employment, on the basis of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Chairman Harkin oversaw the first Senate markup of this legislation since 2002, and it cleared the Committee on a strong bipartisan vote in July 2013. He went on to lead the bill to historic bipartisan Senate passage—including 10 Republican votes—just 4 months later.
The bill is pending consideration in the U.S. House.
- S. 1557, Children’s Hospital GME Reauthorization Act of 2013 (Senators Casey, Isakson, Whitehouse, Harkin, and Alexander)
- Amends the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize support for graduate medical education programs in children’s hospitals.
- Approved by the HELP Committee in October 2013, passed the Senate in November 2013.
- S. 689, Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act of 2013 (Senators Harkin, Alexander, Sanders, Franken, and Roberts)
- Reauthorizes and improves programs administered by both the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services related to awareness, prevention, and early identification of mental health conditions.
- S.689 passed the HELP Committee in April 2013 and identical text was passed 95-2 as an amendment (S.AMDT.730) to S.649, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act, in the same month.
15. S.1417, Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act of 2013 (Senators Hagan, Hatch, and Harkin)
- Amends the Public Health Service Act to extend and improve programs at the Department of Health and Human Services related to newborn screening, and reauthorizes the Federal Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children.
- Approved by the HELP Committee in December 2013; pending Senate consideration.
16. S.1719, the Poison Center Network Act (Senators Murray, Burr, and Harkin)
o Amends the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize the poison center national toll-free number, national media campaign, and grant program.
o Approved by the HELP Committee in December 2013; pending Senate consideration.
17. S. 1302, Cooperative and Small Employer Charity Pension Flexibility Act (Senators Harkin and Roberts)
- Addresses the challenges faced by many cooperative associations and charities in providing pension benefits to their workers by ensuring that their pension funding rules both protect workers’ benefits and ensure the organizations are able to provide vital services to local communities.
- Approved by the HELP Committee in October 2013; pending Senate consideration.
In addition, two more bipartisan bills have been reported out of the HELP Committee and are awaiting consideration by the full Senate:
- Since 1965, the OAA has been a critical vehicle for the delivery of nutrition and social services for seniors. The bill includes improved protections for vulnerable elders and expanded support for family caregivers. The bill also promotes the delivery of evidence-based services.
- Approved by the HELP Committee in October 2013; pending Senate consideration.
- S.1356, Workforce Investment Act (WIA) (Senators Murray, Isakson, Harkin, and Alexander)
- Contains significant improvements to existing job training programs and local workforce systems originally authorized under WIA in 1998. Harkin worked closely with Ranking Member Alexander on Title V of WIA, which reauthorizes the Rehabilitation Act, including vocational rehabilitation (VR) programs. The updates to Title V are aimed at making sure that young people with disabilities have increased preparation and opportunities for competitive, integrated employment.
- Approved by the HELP Committee by vote of 18-3 in July 2013; pending Senate consideration.
For more information, please contact Kate Cyrul Frischmann (
Kate_Frischmann@harkin.) or Allison Preiss (