Federal Relations

December 2, 2016

Foxx to be Chair of House Education and Workforce Cmte, Trump’s Ed Landing Team

With approval of the full Republican conference, the House Republican Steering Committee has selected Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) as the chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce in the 115th Congress.  She grew up in Appalachia without power and running water and began working as a weaver at age 12 to help support her family. These experiences convinced her that it’s an individual’s hard work, and not federal programs, that lead to success.

As the 73-year-old GOP lawmaker and former community college president, Foxx has been a staunch critic of the Obama Administation’s Department of Education efforts. 

She is a strong supporter of school choice and supports the president-elect’s $20 billion school choice plan emphasizing vouchers. Specifically, she wants to examine the billions doled out annually under Title 1 — a Great Society program that boosts funding to schools catering to poor students. The money is now considered a possible funding source for Trump’s school choice plan. Other items on her agenda: 

  • reexamine the role of the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, which conservatives revile for its focus on issues such as campus sexual assault and bathroom access for transgender students;
  • reverse a Democratic Congress’ decision to have the Education Department, not banks, issue student loans; and 

  • reverse regulations targeting for-profit colleges.

Mike Pence’s former general counsel has joined the landing team at the Education Department. Attorney Thomas Wheeler was named to the team Thursday. He served as general counsel for Pence during his time as Indiana governor, according to a 2013 press release from the Republican National Lawyers Association that announced him as a member of its board of governors. Wheeler also has extensive experience representing schools on legal issues, including civil rights-related cases, according to the web site for his law firm in Indianapolis, Frost Brown Todd, LLC.