Henry Waxman
Chair of the House Energy Committee
In office
January 3, 2009 – January 3, 2011
Preceded byJohn Dingell
Succeeded byFred Upton
Chair of the House Oversight Committee
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2009
Preceded byTom Davis
Succeeded byEdolphus Towns
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from California
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 2015
Preceded byJohn Rousselot
Succeeded byTed Lieu
Constituency24th district (1975–1993)
29th district (1993–2003)
30th district (2003–2013)
33rd district (2013–2015)
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 61st district
In office
January 6, 1969 – November 30, 1974
Preceded byLester A. McMillan
Succeeded byJohn L. E. Collier
Personal details
Henry Arnold Waxman

(1939-09-12) September 12, 1939 (age 84)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseJanet Kessler
EducationUniversity of California, Los Angeles (BA, JD)

Henry Arnold Waxman (born September 12, 1939) is an American politician and lobbyist who was a U.S. representative from California from 1975 to 2015. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

His district included much of the western part of the city of Los Angeles, as well as West Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Beverly Hills, and was numbered the 24th district from 1975 to 1993, the 29th district from 1993 to 2003, and the 30th district from 2003 to 2013, changing because of redistricting after the 1990, 2000, and 2010 censuses.

Waxman was an influential liberal member of Congress, and was instrumental in passing laws including the Infant Formula Act of 1980, the Orphan Drug Act of 1983, the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, the Clean Air Act of 1990, the Ryan White CARE Act of 1990, the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, the State Children's Health Insurance Program of 1997, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.[1][2][3] In 1985, he played an instrumental role in banning federal funding for the Red Line subway in Los Angeles so that it would not go into his affluent Westside district.[4][5]

He is currently chairman at Waxman Strategies, a D.C.-based lobbying firm,[6] Regent Lecturer for University of California, Los Angeles, and lecturer at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.[7]

Early life, education, and early career

Waxman was born to a Jewish household in Los Angeles, California, the son of Esther (née Silverman) and Ralph Louis Waxman. His father was born in Montreal, Canada; his mother was from Pennsylvania. All of his grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Russia.[8] He attended college at UCLA, earning a bachelor's degree in political science in 1961 and a J.D. degree from UCLA School of Law in 1964. After graduating, he worked as a lawyer. He was elected to the California State Assembly in 1968, and served three terms. Along with U.S. Representative Howard Berman, Waxman co-founded the Los Angeles County Young Democrats.[9]

U.S. House of Representatives


In 1974, Democratic U.S. Representative Chet Holifield retired after 16 terms in Congress. Waxman gave up his state assembly seat to run for the district, which had been re-numbered from the 19th to the 24th in a mid-decade redistricting. Waxman won the Democratic nomination for the district, and easily won the general election, as this was tantamount to election in this heavily Democratic district. He was re-elected 17 times, with no substantive opposition. He faced no major-party opposition in 1986, and was completely unopposed in 2008. His district changed numbers four times in his tenure — from the 24th (1975–1993) to the 29th (1993–2003) to the 30th (2003–2013) to the 33rd (2013-2015). At the time of his retirement, he was one of the last two members, along with George Miller of California, of the large Democratic freshman class of 1975.

From 2003 to 2013, Waxman's district included Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Malibu, West Hollywood, and Westlake Village, as well as such areas of western Los Angeles as West Los Angeles, Fairfax, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Beverlywood, Topanga, Chatsworth, Palms, Westwood, West Hills, Westside Village, Woodland Hills, but through the creation of a new 33rd Congressional District by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, in the November 2012 general election, Waxman won re-election[10] in an area including his home community of Beverly Hills and stretching to Malibu and Pacific-coastal communities heading south, including Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and Northwest San Pedro.[11]


Before the Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives in 1995, Waxman was a powerful figure in the House as chair of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health and the Environment from 1979. In this role, he conducted investigations into a range of health and environmental issues, including universal health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid coverage, AIDS, and air and water pollution. In 1994, Waxman forced the chief executives of the seven major tobacco companies to swear under oath that nicotine was not addictive.[12]

Waxman's stated legislative priorities are health and environmental issues. These include universal health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid coverage, tobacco, AIDS, air and water quality standards, pesticides, nursing home quality standards, women's health research and reproductive rights, the availability and cost of prescription drugs, and the right of communities to know about pollution levels. As an example of Waxman's thoughts regarding tobacco, on April 13, 2010, he requested that Major League Baseball ban smokeless tobacco in all its various forms - snuff, dipping tobacco, chewing tobacco, snus, etc.[13]

Waxman at a bill signing ceremony with President George W. Bush in September 2006

With the Democrats' victory in the 2006 midterm elections, Waxman became chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the principal investigative committee of the House. He was the committee's ranking Democrat from 1997 to 2007. In 1998, while he was still ranking member, he created a "Special Investigations Division" to investigate matters that he felt the full committee had neglected. This was possible because the committee has broad powers to investigate any matter with federal policy implications, even if another committee has jurisdiction over it.[14] He has also harshly criticized the Republicans for ignoring their "constitutional responsibility" to conduct oversight over the government.[15]

On March 16, 2004, at Waxman's request, the Committee on Government Reform Minority Office published "Iraq on the Record, the Bush Administration's Public Statements on Iraq",[16] a detailed and searchable collection of 237 specific misleading statements made by Bush Administration officials about the threat posed by Iraq. It contains statements that were misleading based on what was known to the Administration at the time the statements were made. It does not include statements that appear mistaken only in hindsight. If a statement was an accurate reflection of U.S. intelligence at the time it was made, it was excluded even if it now appears erroneous.

In 2006, Project On Government Oversight, a government watchdog group, presented Waxman with its Good Government Award for his various contributions to government transparency and oversight.[17]

On the day after the 2006 elections, Waxman directed his aides to draw up an "oversight plan" for the panel. He had already let it be known that he wanted to investigate Halliburton, as well as its alleged malfeasance related to government contracts in Iraq. It is very likely that he could also investigate the numerous scandals surrounding Jack Abramoff. This led to concerns among Democratic aides that the Government Reform Committee under Waxman would stage a repeat of the committee's performance under the Clinton administration, when it issued over 1,000 subpoenas. However, Waxman told Newsweek that he is interested in accountability and not retaliation.[18]

In 2009, he began serving as the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, after defeating Chairman John Dingell in a 137–122 secret vote of House Democrats on November 20, 2008.

Waxman stands behind President Obama at an October 30, 2009, bill signing ceremony

Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming once described Waxman as being 'tougher than a boiled owl.'[19]

Waxman is proud of his "strong Jewish identity" and has drawn political conclusions from his exploration of the religion.[20] "Judaism is about acting and doing the right thing, not simply believing in it or mindlessly following ritual," he said in a speech presented by the University of Southern California's Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life.[20] Waxman said he applies Jewish ethical values to his congressional service. He further said that the "Jewish values" of "human rights, social justice, and equal opportunities ... are synonymous with American values," and that such values "are in my opinion closer to a Democratic position." Waxman supported fellow representative Jane Harman during her primary challenge from Marcy Winograd when Winograd said she would support a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, instead of the two-state resolution endorsed by Waxman and Harman. Saying it suffers from "a culture of corruption" and "has become obsessed with secrecy," he accused the American government of having abandoned these values. "(The) Republican leadership ignores presidential rules and norms and has no consideration for custom," he said.[21]


Waxman was strongly critical of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, which places limits on taxpayer-funded abortions in the context of the November 2009 Affordable Health Care for America Act. Instead of this version, it was reported that many Democrats supported a version that would find "common ground."[22]

1985 subway opposition

In 1985, Waxman sponsored a bill supported by affluent homeowners groups in his district to ban federal funding for the Red Line subway after a methane gas explosion in the Fairfax District.[4] Prior to that, Waxman had privately expressed concerns about "gentrification" of his affluent district.

Waxman maintains that the 1985 bill was sponsored in the interest of public safety and not, as some allege, to hinder access of the working classes in South and East Los Angeles to his affluent district. In a letter to the Los Angeles Times, Waxman cites the 2005 study: "The panel concurred as well that in 1985, the decision to hold further tunneling in abeyance was prudent, given the circumstances and extent of information and technology at that time. Much has changed since then to significantly improve tunneling and operation safety."[23]

In 2005, a robust real estate market, multi-dwelling construction boom, and lack of public mass transit planning on the westside caused by Waxman's bill resulted in gridlock throughout Waxman's district.[24] At the request of Los Angeles Mayor and LA Metro Board President Antonio Villaraigosa, Waxman agreed to lift the ban if a panel of five engineers found tunneling under the Miracle Mile stretch of Wilshire Boulevard to be safe. In October 2005, the panel decided that tunneling was possible, and on December 16, Waxman responded by announcing he would introduce a bill to the U.S. House that would lift the ban on federal money for subway tunneling in the district. This bill passed the House via unanimous vote on September 20, 2006.[25]


Waxman, as the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, oversaw the case of Solyndra, a solar company that filed for bankruptcy after receiving a $535 million loan guarantee from the DOE. Waxman recounted meeting with Solyndra's CEO two months before they filed for bankruptcy, who assured him that "Solyndra’s future was bright with sales and production booming."[26] Waxman was accused of being involved with the Solyndra loan by Darrell Issa. Waxman responded, saying he had no involvement in the selection of the loan.[27][28]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Electoral history

California's 24th congressional district: Results 1974–1990[29]
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1974 Henry Waxman 85,343 63% Elliott Graham 45,680 34% David Davis American Independent 3,980 3%
1976 Henry Waxman 108,296 68% David Simmons 51,478 32%
1978 Henry Waxman 85,075 63% Howard Schaefer 44,243 33% Kevin Peters Peace and Freedom 6,453 5%
1980 Henry Waxman 93,569 64% Roland Cayard 39,744 27% Maggie Feigin Peace and Freedom 5,905 4% Robert Lehman Libertarian 5,172 3% Jack Smilowitz American Independent 2,341 2%
1982 Henry Waxman 88,516 65% Jerry Zerg 42,133 31% Jeff Mandel Libertarian 5,420 4%
1984 Henry Waxman 97,340 63% Jerry Zerg 51,010 33% James Green Peace and Freedom 2,780 2% Tim Custer Libertarian 2,477 2%
1986 Henry Waxman 103,914 87% no candidate George Abrahams Libertarian 8,871 8% James Green Peace and Freedom 5,388 5%
1988 Henry Waxman 112,038 72% John Cowles 36,835 24% James Green Peace and Freedom 3,571 2% George Abrahams Libertarian 2,627 2%
1990 Henry Waxman 71,562 69% John Cowles 26,607 26% Maggie Phair Peace and Freedom 5,706 5%
California's 29th congressional district: Results 1992–2000[29] Year Democratic Votes % Republican Votes % Third Party Party Votes % Third Party Party Votes % 1992 Henry Waxman 160,312 61% Mark Robbins 67,141 26% David Davis Independent 15,445 6% Susan Davies Peace and Freedom 13,888 5% Felix Rogin Libertarian 4,699 2% 1994 Henry Waxman 160,312 72% Paul Stepanek 53,801 24% Michael Binkley Libertarian 7,162 3% 1996 Henry Waxman 145,278 68% Paul Stepanek 52,857 25% John Daly Peace and Freedom 8,819 4% Mike Binkley Libertarian 4,766 2% Brian Rees Natural Law 3,097 1% 1998 Henry Waxman 131,561 74% Mike Gottlieb 40,282 23% Mike Binkley Libertarian 3,534 2% Karen Blasdell-Wilkinson Natural Law 2,717 2% 2000 Henry Waxman 180,295 76% Jim Scileppi 45,784 19% Jack Anderson Libertarian 7,944 3% Bruce Currivan Natural Law 4,178 2%
California's 30th congressional district: Results 2002–2010[29][30][31] Year Democratic Votes % Republican Votes % Third Party Party Votes % Third Party Party Votes % 2002 Henry Waxman 130,604 70% Tony Goss 54,989 30% 2004 Henry Waxman 216,682 71% Victor Elizalde 87,465 29% 2006 Henry Waxman 151,284 71% David Jones 55,904 26% Adele Cannon Peace and Freedom 4,546 2% 2008 Henry Waxman 242,792 100% No candidate 2010 Henry Waxman 153,663 67% Charles Wilkerson 75,948 32% Erich Miller Libertarian 5,021 2% Richard Castaldo Peace and Freedom 3,115 1%
California's 33rd congressional district: Results 2012–[29][32] Year Democratic Votes % Republican Votes % Third Party Party Votes % 2012 Henry Waxman 171,860 54% No candidate Bill Bloomfield Independent 146,660 46%

Post-congressional career

Once hailed in the media as a "lobbyist's worst nightmare," Waxman became a successful and influential lobbyist when he opened his own firm after retiring from Congress.[33][34][35]

In popular culture

In 1993, a news clip of Waxman was used for the movie And The Band Played On, and in 2021, Waxman was praised by television host Bill Maher on his HBO Talk Show Series Real Time with Bill Maher. In discussing the concept of political "show horses", as compared to "work horses", Maher described Waxman's legislative achievements and emphasized that Waxman's tenacity and low public profile as a "work horse" allowed him to effect substantial change in the United States, specifically through updates to programs and policies including food safety, clean air, HIV research, and the social safety net. In Waxman's honor, Maher introduced a segment titled "The Baldy Awards", to recognize the achievements of Waxman and other "work horse" politicians.[36][37][38]

See also


  1. ^ Jonathan Wiseman (January 30, 2014). "Henry Waxman, Key Democrat and Force for Health Care Law, Is to Retire". The New York Times. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  2. ^ Karen Tumulty (January 30, 2014). "Henry Waxman to retire at end of congressional session". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  3. ^ Jonathan Cohn (January 31, 2014). "Farewell to Henry Waxman, a Liberal Hero". The New Republic. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Elkind, Ethan N. (2014). Railtown: The Fight for the Los Angeles Metro Rail and the Future of the City. University of California Press. pp. 1–2. ISBN 978-0-520-27827-1. JSTOR 10.1525/j.ctt5hjhqt.
  5. ^ Broverman, Neal (2012-04-13). "Eighties Subway-Staller Henry Waxman Enters Purple Line Fray". Curbed LA.
  6. ^ Mario Trujillo (9 June 2015). "Former Rep. Waxman lobbying for T-Mobile". The Hill. Washington, D. C.
  7. ^ "Waxman Strategies". waxmanstrategies.com.
  8. ^ "henry waxman". freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com.
  9. ^ Lowenfeld, Jonah (2011-07-19). "California's new citizen-led redistricting panel could force two Jewish Democrats into a face-off". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  10. ^ Colman, Zack (7 November 2012). "Waxman fights off independent opponent".
  11. ^ Marroquin, Art (29 August 2011). "House veteran Waxman will run in new district that includes South Bay". The Daily Breeze. Archived from the original on 22 May 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  12. ^ "Inside the Tobacco Deal". Frontline. PBS. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  13. ^ McDonell, Terry, ed. (April 26, 2010). "For the Record: Requested". Sports Illustrated. Vol. 112, no. 18. Time. p. 16.
  14. ^ "Special Investigations". Archived from the original on December 15, 2005. Retrieved 2017-04-01.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link). democrats.reform.house.gov. Retrieved on 2011-11-22.
  15. ^ "Committee on Government Reform Minority Office". Archived from the original on December 26, 2005. Retrieved 2017-04-01.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link). democrats.reform.house.gov. Retrieved on 2011-11-22.
  16. ^ Henry A. Waxman "Iraq on the Record". Archived from the original on August 13, 2007. Retrieved 2011-11-22.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link). oversight.house.gov
  17. ^ Good Government Award Home Page. Archived 2010-07-07 at the Wayback Machine Project On Government Oversight Website. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
  18. ^ Democrats’ Challenge: Stay in the Center – Newsweek National News – MSNBC.com Archived November 29, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Barone, Michael; McCutcheon, Chuck (2013). 2014 Almanac of American Politics. The University of Chicago Press.
  20. ^ a b Meier, Gretchen (2006-04-24). "Congressman lambastes Bush, Republicans on ethical issues". Daily Trojan. Archived from the original on 2007-05-04. Retrieved 2006-12-15.
  21. ^ Meier, Gretchen (2006-04-24). "Congressman lambastes Bush, Republicans on ethical issues". Daily Trojan. Archived from the original on August 27, 2008. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  22. ^ McCormack, John (31 July 2009). "Waxman Strong-arms Vote to Allow Abortion Coverage in Public Plan". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  23. ^ Henry Waxman (2006-01-03). "The facts about Red Line safety". Los Angeles Times. Alt URL
  24. ^ Christine Pelisek Red Line to Somewhere, LA Weekly, 3 March 2005
  25. ^ "In boost to LA subway extension, House lifts tunneling ban". San Francisco Chronicle. Associated Press. 20 September 2006. Archived from the original on 24 December 2007.
  26. ^ McElhatton, Jim (23 September 2011). "Solyndra stays mum at hearing on failed loan deal". The Washington Times.
  27. ^ Graves, Lucia (26 September 2011). "Henry Waxman Tells Darrell Issa He Had 'No Involvement' In Solyndra Loan Selection". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  28. ^ German, Ben (27 September 2011). "Waxman to Issa: Get Solyndra facts straight". The Hill. Archived from the original on 30 December 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  29. ^ a b c d "Office of the House Clerk – Electoral Statistics". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Archived from the original on 2007-07-25.
  30. ^ "Election Results". Federal Election Commission. pp. 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008.
  31. ^ United States Representative Archived 2011-05-20 at the Wayback Machine. 2010 General Elections. sos.ca.gov
  32. ^ United States Representative Archived 2012-12-22 at the Wayback Machine. 2012 General Elections. sos.ca.gov
  33. ^ "The top lobbyists for 2021". The Hill. December 1, 2021.
  34. ^ "Which lobbying and public affairs firms got PPP loans". Politico. July 7, 2020.
  35. ^ "Henry Waxman, lobbyist's nightmare, becomes a lobbyist". Forward. June 11, 2015.
  36. ^ "HOBs Bill Maher again blasts Portland radicals for riots and progressive theater". Oregon Live. 30 January 2021.
  37. ^ "Bill Maher Talks Mutating Viruses and a Changing Climate on "Real Time"". Inside Hook.
  38. ^ "Baldy Awards". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12.


U.S. House of Representatives Preceded byJohn Rousselot Member of the U.S. House of Representativesfrom California's 24th congressional district 1975–1993 Succeeded byAnthony Beilenson Preceded byMaxine Waters Member of the U.S. House of Representativesfrom California's 29th congressional district 1993–2003 Succeeded byAdam Schiff Preceded byXavier Becerra Member of the U.S. House of Representativesfrom California's 30th congressional district 2003–2013 Succeeded byBrad Sherman Preceded byKaren Bass Member of the U.S. House of Representativesfrom California's 33rd congressional district 2013–2015 Succeeded byTed Lieu Preceded byCardiss Collins Ranking Member of the House Oversight Committee 1997–2007 Succeeded byTom Davis Preceded byTom Davis Chairman of the House Oversight Committee 2007–2009 Succeeded byEdolphus Towns Preceded byJohn Dingell Chairman of the House Energy Committee 2009–2011 Succeeded byFred Upton Preceded byJoe Barton Ranking Member of the House Energy Committee 2011–2015 Succeeded byFrank Pallone U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial) Preceded byGeorge Milleras Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United Statesas Former US Representative Succeeded byNick Rahallas Former US Representative