Harkin passes on Approps gavel to continue at HELP

"I am also committed to working closely with the administration to ensure the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act, including the Prevention and Public Health title — an effort decades in the making to change our ‘sick care’ system into a genuine healthcare system," Harkin said.

The Iowa Democrat has run HELP since 2009, when he took over for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.). He also leads the Appropriations subpanel that funds health, education and labor.

"It was my good friend Sen. Inouye who said that these issues are the issues that define America. I couldn’t agree more," Harkin said.