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ICYMI: New Opportunities to Help Students, Workers, and Job Creators

By Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)

What a difference an election can make. Across the country, there is renewed hope and confidence in the future. Expectations are high, as they should be. Now it’s time to do the hard work necessary to live up to those expectations.

For eight years, families and small businesses have lived with the consequences of failed policies and failed leadership. They have endured job growth that is sluggish, wages that are largely flat, college costs that continue to rise and health care costs that are still skyrocketing.

However, it is a new year with new leadership and new opportunities to deliver real solutions that will improve the lives of the American people. As the chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, I look forward to playing a leading role in this important effort.

We will start by rolling back the regulatory onslaught that is crushing schools, states, employers and working families. In recent years, new regulations have been finalized that affect virtually every aspect of American life.

Under President Obama, the Department of Education sought to control how local communities spend their K-12 education dollars. The department also dictated how states identify and improve under-performing schools, and it put hardworking taxpayers on the hook for tens of billions of dollars in student loans.

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor finalized extreme changes to overtime policies that would destroy jobs, reduce real income for families, raise costs on small businesses and make it harder for lower-skilled workers to climb the economic ladder. That’s enough damage from one agency, but for the Obama labor department, this barely scratches the surface.

We have also witnessed new rules restricting access to affordable retirement advice and a host of regulatory schemes that empower union bosses at the expense of workers and small businesses. The list goes on, but you get the picture.

Bureaucrats who have never owned businesses are micromanaging the decisions employers make every day. Central planners in Washington pretend they know better than teachers, principals, parents and faculty how best to educate America’s students. Enough is enough.

Working with the new administration, we will rein in the regulatory state. We will remind those employed by the federal government that they work for the American people, not the other way around.

We will work to undo the damage that has been done. We will also work to advance positive, conservative solutions to tackle some of our nation’s toughest challenges.

One of the first steps will be strengthening career and technical education (CTE). CTE has helped a lot of students gain the knowledge and skills they need to compete in the workforce. Recently, we came close to achieving reforms that would provide states more flexibility, reduce administrative burdens, improve accountability and better ensure students are prepared for in-demand jobs. It is my hope we will finish this important work in the coming months.

We also intend to take early action to help vulnerable youth get on the pathway to success by improving the juvenile justice system. Furthermore, we will continue our efforts to make higher education more accessible and affordable, deliver patient-centered health care solutions and help more Americans retire with financial security and peace of mind.

These and other important priorities will expand opportunities for students to learn and for Americans to climb the economic ladder. A new Congress and new administration mark a new beginning for this great country. We face a historic opportunity. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and seize this opportunity.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) is the Chairwoman of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

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