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Congressman Bobby Scott reflects on his time as House Education and Labor Committee chair

FILE - Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., speaks during a House Committee on the Budget hearing on March 29, 2022, in Washington. Building on President Joe Biden’s student debt cancellation plan, House Democrats on Thursday, Sept. 15, proposed new legislation that would increase federal student aid, lower interest rates on loans and take other steps to make college more affordable. “Simply put, by making loans cheaper to take out and easier to pay off, the LOAN Act will help improve the lives of student loan borrowers — both now and in the future,” said Scott.
Rod Lamkey
AP/Pool Consolidated News Photos
FILE - Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., speaks during a House Committee on the Budget hearing on March 29, 2022, in Washington.

When Republicans take control of Congress, one Virginia lawmaker will lose a key leadership position.

Congressman Bobby Scott is not just the senior member of the Virginia congressional delegation. He's also the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, which was able to score some major victories under his leadership. There was the historic investment in HBCUs, the protection of pension plans and then there was the massive investment in K-12 schools – $123 billion to help students across the country.

"If they don't catch up quickly, particularly the juniors and seniors in high school, if they graduate behind, they will be permanently inflicted with less learning for the rest of their life," he says. "We need to make sure they catch up and catch up quickly. And that's what that investment did."

As he prepares to step down from the chairmanship, Scott says his time at the head of Education and Labor has seen some historic developments.

"We were able to create policies with the support for state and local government that avoided layoffs with the PPP loans and the infrastructure law create an economy that in the last two years created the most jobs in the history of the United States," he explains. "I think that's in stark contrast to the job performance of the previous administration, which was the worst job performance in 90 years."

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus currently serve as leaders of several House committees. They'll all be moving over to the minority side of the committee when Republicans take control next year.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.