Chairwoman Foxx: The Opportunity to Work is a Blessing
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 18, 2023
Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) gave the following speech last week on the House floor to discuss the importance of changing the name of the Committee:
Chairwoman Foxx’s Remarks:
“Words matter and ideas have consequences. That is why House Republicans are once again changing the name of the Committee I now chair to the Committee on Education and the Workforce. Every time Democrats take control of the House, they swap out the word ‘workforce’ for ‘labor.’ This back-and-forth is at the core of Republicans’ and Democrats’ differing views on the concept of work.
“The Bible tells us that when God created Adam and Eve, he gave them the garden to cultivate and animals to name. This was work. Being made in the image of God means that we, like Him, have the capacity to build, create, and bring order from chaos. And using our God-given gifts, mankind has done just that. This ability to work and create is something to celebrate—not lament.
“Influenced by Marxism, the Left prefers to call work labor. This is a mistake. I reject the idea that work freely done is toil. I reject the idea that work freely done is a curse. And I embrace the idea that having the opportunity to provide for one’s family is a blessing.
“Even those who do not adhere to a Biblical worldview can see empirically that men and women are at their best when they get to work. Work is fundamental to a lasting sense of fulfillment. As a small business owner myself, I know there is nothing better than the feeling you get when you look at something you’ve built with your own hands and ingenuity.
“I also prefer the word ‘workforce’ over ‘labor’ because all work is of equal value. When the Left refers to labor, they aren’t talking about the work of lawyers and doctors, but the work of mechanics and welders. Why?
“For several decades now, our culture has made a distinction between blue-collar and white-collar work that denigrates the former. This is wrong. Calling the men and women who keep our homes heated and our cars running ‘laborers’ degrades their contribution to society. We must recognize that there is more than one path to the American dream. Working in a high-rise office building is not of greater value than the window washer cleaning that building. Each plays a pivotal role in keeping our economy running.
“Labor also implies that workers do not have a choice in who they work for or what conditions they work in. In the United States, we live in a free society and workers have freedom to choose for whom they work. If an employer is unfair or unjust, workers have the freedom to find a different employer—and to seek recompense.
“Yet the Left uses the word labor to pit workers against employers—all in the hopes of bringing about more government control and a radical redistribution of wealth. The United States is the most prosperous country in history because of our free market, but embracing socialist policies and views would destroy that.
“Democrats also insist on using the word labor because they are beholden to Big Labor. Democrats have made it clear that they wish to force all Americans into unions regardless of their preference. When Democrats oversee this Committee, their efforts focus on bolstering union bosses at the expense of employee free choice. This myopic view serves only a small spectrum of the workforce as the majority of workers choose not to be in a union.
“On the other hand, Republicans are committed to supporting the entire workforce. We do not support a one-size-fits-all work model and understand that work is as diverse as the people doing it.
“So, when I talk about the workforce, I am talking about all the men and women who take pride in their work.
“When I talk about the workforce, I am talking about all the men and women who work hard to provide for their families.
“And when I talk about the workforce, I am talking about all the men and women who have gained the skills necessary to be productive and self-sufficient citizens.
“Under my leadership, the Committee on Education and the Workforce will serve the entire workforce—no matter what color their collar is, how dirty their hands get when they work, or whether they work independently. The era of Big Labor, in our hearing room, is over.”
Watch the full video here.