Two House Democrats repeat request for a hearing on child labor violations
Washington — Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Alma Adams (D-NC) are again asking Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, to convene a hearing on child labor violations.
Scott is the committee’s ranking member, and Adams is ranking member of the House Workforce Protections Subcommittee. In a June 6 letter addressed to Foxx, they cited data from the Department of Labor Wage and House Division showing that child labor violations have nearly quadrupled since 2015.
In a follow-up letter dated Sept. 13, the pair write: “Since we sent our letter on June 6, the evidence has mounted of the need for oversight by this committee. Just two days after our letter, a Missouri 16-year-old boy died at work, in the first of three work-related deaths of 16-year-old boys in a mere five-week span.
“Meanwhile, a Scripps News investigation last month found children as young as 6 working in the North Carolina blueberry fields. … Additionally, at least two states have reported an increase in both state child labor violations and work-related injuries to children.”
On June 30, Scott introduced the Protecting Children Act (H.R. 4440), which has been referred to the committee. Two other bills also concerning child labor are before the committee: the Justice for Exploited Children Act of 2023 (H.R. 2388) and the Combating Child Labor Act (H.R. 2956).
At press time, Foxx hadn’t issued an official response to the second request.
In response to the June 6 letter, though, Foxx said the request was “all for show.”
In her statement, Foxx contended that “my Republican colleagues covered the rise in illegal migrant child labor thoroughly during our hearing with acting Labor Secretary Julie Su. Additionally, committee Republicans requested a briefing from DOL on this issue and we are working with DOL to determine a time.”
She also said that Democrats “spent four hours sitting in a room with acting Secretary Su and not once did they ask a pointed question about the DOL’s failure to address this problem.”