U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx wants the federal Department of Education to disappear. She wants Washington to stop passing down rules and regulations schools have to follow.
As the new chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee, the seven-term North Carolina congresswoman has a powerful forum to talk about all that.
Trouble is, she probably doesn’t have the votes to do much of what she wants. It takes 60 to get most legislation through the Senate, where Republicans control only 52 seats, and she’s up against a powerful education lobby that resists sweeping change in federal policy.
She’s trying. Foxx, who helped lead the writing of the 2016 Republican Party platform and served in House leadership, figures she’ll have to dilute Education Department power bit by bit. Already, she’s championing the use of a rare legislative tactic in Congress to eliminate some Obama administration regulations.
And Foxx is putting pressure on her colleagues in Congress to write the sort of legislation she wants, contending that some past laws were written sloppily and left too much leeway for federal departments to fill in gaps with rules and regulations.
Any federal educational policies, she told McClatchy in an interview, should come from lawmakers – not bureaucrats.
“We’ve got some good laws in place – let Congress do its oversight,” she said. “Sometimes doing nothing from the federal level is good.”
Foxx and her Republican congressional allies have a new favored tool for walking back regulations: Congressional Review Acts, which allow Congress to overturn specific federal rules and regulations and prevent them from coming back up.