Tom Harkin

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If Biden Runs in '16, Iowa's Got His Back

Does his appearance at today's Harkin Steak Fry mean he's eying a run?

(Newser) - Iowa Senator Tom Harkin is hosting his 36th "steak fry" fundraiser today, an event described by the Des Moines Register as "a stepping stone to the White House." This year's guest of honor? Joe Biden. His appearance has tongues wagging that the Vice President is considering... More »

Senate to Let Student Loan Rates Double

No deal looks likely before looming July 1 deadline

(Newser) - A compromise to keep student loan interest rates low proved unwinnable before Monday's deadline and interest rates on new loans are going to double — at least for a while — senators said today. Tom Harkin, the chairman of the Senate education panel, said none of the proposals being... More »

Democrat Tom Harkin Retiring From Senate

Iowa senator won't seek re-election in 2014

(Newser) - Surprise news from the Senate today: Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin tells AP he will not run for re-election in 2014. Harkin, 73, pointed out that he would be 81 if he completed a sixth term. "It's just time," he says. Harkin has long been a champion of... More »

Harkin Calls on Democrats to Block Cliff Deal

Hoyer also balks as GOP starts calling it 'inconsequential'

(Newser) - Rank-and-file Republicans aren't the only ones who could deep-six a fiscal cliff compromise. Tom Harkin today called on Democrats to reject the deal, furious over President Obama's apparent willingness to up his tax threshold to $450,000. "They think Republicans may object? We may object," the... More »

At Fiscal Cliff, a Debt Ceiling Showdown Now Looms

Fiscal cliff debate roaring through Washington

(Newser) - Wrangling at the edge of the fiscal cliff is the main event in Washington right now, and the stakes might be even higher than most people realize. At President Obama's first meeting with John Boehner, he asked him to raise the debt ceiling before the end of the year,... More »

Senate Report: For-Profit Colleges 'Abysmal'

Republicans, industry, say findings are biased

(Newser) - Private, for-profit colleges are gorging themselves on federal cash while spending little to ensure a quality education for their students, who are dropping out in droves, Democrats on the Senate's education committee declared in a report yesterday. The report found that more than half the students at the 30... More »

Senator Nelson: 'I've Never Used an ATM'

Which makes it hard to be mad at fees

(Newser) - Ben Nelson is taking some razzing today for comments he made to the Omaha World-Herald about ATM fees: “I've never used an ATM, so I don't know what the fees are,” said the 69-year-old Nebraska senator. "It's true, I don't know how to use one. But I... More »

Glenn Beck Thinks God Wrote the Bill of Rights

Fox host mangles US history

(Newser) - Glenn Beck mangled US history pretty spectacularly in a health care rant yesterday, attacking Tom Harkin for saying that reform would make health care “an unalienable right.” Beck’s response: “Tom! I don’t know if you’ve read the Declaration of Independence, but you don’t... More »

Schumer May Try to Rewrite Filibuster Rules

Hearings could be a sign he wants Harry Reid's job

(Newser) - Chuck Schumer plans to hold a series of Senate Rules Committee hearings to examine possible reforms to the filibuster rules so frustrating Democrats. Schumer, the committee’s chair, hatched the plan with senators Tom Udall and Carl Levin. In the first hearing, Senate historians will testify as to how the... More »

Obama to Congress: Vote Health Care 'Up or Down'

Tells Senate to go for 'up or down vote'

(Newser) - Barack Obama gave Congress its marching orders today, telling them to hold a final vote on health care reform within the next few weeks. He essentially told the Senate to pass the bill via reconciliation, though he didn’t use the term, instead demanding an “up or down vote,... More »

Lieberman's Big Filibuster Flip

Before using his power to kill health care, Lieberman decried it

(Newser) - Joe Lieberman may be America’s top filibusterer right now, but once upon a time he hated the filibuster, calling on senators to give up some individual power, Rachel Maddow demonstrated in delicious detail last night. Back in 1995, Lieberman co-sponsored a bill with Tom Harkin to kill the filibuster... More »

Senate Bill Likely to Come Down to Reid, Dodd, Baucus

Baucus, Dodd the only senators with secure seats at negotiating table

(Newser) - Every senator worth their salt is salivating for a seat at the table when Harry Reid merges the Senate’s two competing health care bills—but the vast majority will instead have their noses pressed to the glass. Reid hopes to speed things up by keeping the group small, Politico... More »

Harkin: I've Got Votes to Pass Public Option

Democrats have votes to break filibuster, pass bill, he says

(Newser) - Sen. Tom Harkin sees no good reason Democrats can’t pass a health care bill that includes a public option. “I have polled senators, and the vast majority of Democrats—maybe approaching 50—support a public option,” the newly minted Health, Education, Labor and Pensions chairman said today.... More »

Franken Gets Funny Again

Senator has crowd chuckling at Iowa fundraiser

(Newser) - As a latecomer to the Senate this year, Al Franken’s been playing it straight—but he loosened up enough to venture a few jokes at an Iowa fundraiser yesterday, CNN reports. Discussing Sen. Tom Harkin’s new post as head of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee,... More »

Feds May Use Food Stamps to Improve Nutrition

Food stamp and school lunch programs could be revamped to encourage nutrition

(Newser) - The Obama White House may move to revamp food aid so it encourages healthy eating, reports the Washington Post. One idea gaining favor: Double the value of food stamps if they're used to buy fruits and vegetables. While anti-hunger advocates have long objected to such government meddling, opposition is softening... More »

Bush Wins War Budget Battle

Senate approves $70 billion in war funds

(Newser) - The White House last night won a major victory in the Senate—securing $70 billion in funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, free of the restrictions linked to troop withdrawals Democrats had insisted on for weeks. In a budget deal that ended months of wrangling, the Senate passed... More »

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