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MLA President Linda Walton Presents Senator Tom Harkin with Honorary MLA Membership

On June 25, MLA President Linda Walton presented Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) with Honorary MLA Membership at the Senator’s Constituent Breakfast in Washington, DC. Accompanying Walton was Past President Gerald (Jerry) Perry, AHIP.

Senator Harkin announced his retirement earlier this year after serving 30 years in the US Senate (1984–2014) and 10 years in the US House of Representatives (1974–1983). The award recognizes and thanks Senator Harkin for his staunch commitment and leadership to bolster funding that supports the programs and services of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and National Institutes of Health (NIH). He has championed efforts to restore and increase funding for NIH and NLM during the tough budget deliberations of the last few years. As chair of the Senate Appropriations Labor-Health and Human Services Subcommittee, he led efforts that provided a $1 billion increase for NIH in the Fiscal Year 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Act, which allowed existing research programs to continue and approximately 385 additional research studies and trials to begin. The senator’s strong partnership with former Senator Arlen Specter resulted in the doubling of NIH and NLM funding between 1998 and 2003. His knowledge and understanding of the key role of information and information services to support health care have been invaluable to the health sciences library community and the American people.

The award also thanks Senator Harkin for supporting passage of the NIH public access policy in the Omnibus Consolidation Appropriations Act and for taking a stand against subsequent efforts to overturn the policy.

Throughout his forty years of service, Senator Harkin has introduced and supported legislation that seeks to improve quality of life for Americans with disabilities and their families and for fighting to ensure that every American has access to affordable health care.