Congress

New House education chairwoman Virginia Foxx favors rolling back Obama regulations

Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., listens to testimony at a House Education Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on March 15, 2016.
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., listens to testimony at a House Education Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on March 15, 2016. McClatchy

Republicans have promoted U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina to lead the House education and workforce committee next year.

Foxx, a six-term Republican congresswoman from Watauga County, is currently a senior member of the committee which oversees several major federal agencies and services, including the education department and Head Start, as well as issues related to pensions, wages, civil rights and equal opportunity in the workplace.

Most recently, Foxx has been serving as secretary to the House Republican Conference and as a member of party leadership, she helped write the GOP platform at this year’s Republican National Convention. Foxx also worked closely with House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan this year to write the Republicans’ “Better Way” agenda – a policy and political framework for top party priorities.

She’s frequently opposed regulations and proposals from President Barack Obama’s administration, including attempting to block the Department of Labor’s 2016 overtime rule, which would make more employees across the country eligible for overtime pay. The overtime mandate is currently under legal challenge in federal court. Foxx, and other Republicans, argued the new overtime pay regulation would cause employers to cut back workers’ hours.

As a committee member, Foxx has pushed for limited executive powers and more oversight from Congress on federal agencies pursuing new rules and regulations affecting businesses and K12 schools and colleges. Through legislation, Foxx has supported writing restrictive language into bills - such as the “No Child Left Behind” replacement law in 2015 - to keep the secretary of education from having too much leeway in putting the law into effect.

“Republicans are not anti-government. We’re not anti-rules. We want reasonable rules,” Foxx told McClatchy during an October interview.

As chair of the education and workforce committee, Foxx will likely set her sights on the size of federal bureaucracy - something she calls the “fourth branch of government.”

Bureaucrats, she says, should be reined in.

“It’s not just the Obama administration. It has existed in Republican administrations, also,” Foxx said in October. “They look for ways to create law through regulation.”

Foxx is a past teacher and college administrator. She has served six years as chair of the education and workforce committee’s subcommittee on higher education and workforce development. Foxx is also a member of the House Committee on Rules.

In a news statement Friday, Foxx said she wants government agencies to be more accountable, more transparent and less prone to waste and inefficiencies.

“Our creative, ambitious pursuit of good policy will be guided by the Constitution with solutions centered on securing and protecting access to high quality education and safe and productive workplaces for all Americans,” she said.

Anna Douglas: 202-383-6012, @ADouglasNews

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