Henry A. Waxman

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Henry Waxman currently serves the 30th Congressional district of California

Henry Arnold Waxman, a Democrat, has represented the 30th congressional district of California in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1975. He is considered to be one of the most influential liberal members of Congress. (map)

Record and controversies

Iraq War

Waxman voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.[1]

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Iraq War.

Investigations into Pentagon activities

On April 10, 2007, Waxman's committee announced that it would investigate Pentagon reports surrounding both the 2003 rescuing of Jessica Lynch in Iraq, and the 2004 death of Patrick Tillman in Afghanistan. In the case of Jessica Lynch, she herself had said that she was "bothered by the way the military publicized her rescue," stating that the events were exaggerated. Patrick Tillman's death was the result of friendly fire, which was immediately recognized by the soldiers present, yet the Pentagon's original release stated that it was the result of enemy combatants.

Main article: House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

Safe Climate Act

On March 20, 2007, Waxman introduced the Safe Climate Act of 2007 (H.R.1590) to "reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the climate." It was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and received 139 co-sponsors (as of June 2007).[2] The bill would establish an emissions "cap and trade" system to start in 2010, requiring a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 15 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050.

Main article: U.S. congressional action on climate change#Safe Climate Act of 2007 (H.R.1590)

Government contracts

Rep. Waxman sponsored the Accountability in Contracting Act which was considered in the House on March 15, 2007. Specifically, it would attempt to reduce abuse with regards to federal government contracts by:

  • Reducing the number of non-competitive, sole-source and cost-reimbursement contracts. The plan and goals for doing so would be applied only to agencies that awarded contracts of a total amount of at least $1 billion in the prior fiscal year. These agency heads would be required to make public within fourteen days any contract awarded on a non-competitive basis. The document would then be posted on the agency website and be available through the Federal Procurement Data System.
  • Requiring all agencies to submit a quarterly report to Congress showing a list of audits or other reports that describe contractor costs in excess of $1 million that have been identified as unjustified, unsupported, questioned or unreasonable under any contract.
  • Closing a loophole that allows former federal officials to accept compensation from contractors or related entities. The provision would require two years to pass before an official could lobby or consult on such contracts for reward. The official could accept compensation if the contract did not produce the same or similar products or services as the entity or contractor responsible for the underlying contract. The agency’s ethics office would be required to determine that the compensation is not a reward for any action leading to the contract award and would not affect the integrity of the procurement process.

The bill passed 337-73.

Main article: Accountability in Contracting Act

Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 2007

On March 5, 2007, Reps. Waxman, Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), and Todd Russell Platts (R-Penn.) introduced the Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 2007 (H.R. 1309), to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act. On March 15, 2007, the bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Specifically, the bill would state the following:

  • A government agency with a request for information may not reject that request if the requester is with the news media, but can not show institutional associations. Prior publication history (including books, magazines and newspaper articles, newsletters, television and radio broadcasts and internet publications) is valid evidence of these associations. If there is no publishing history, the agency must then consider the requester’s stated intent to distribute the information to a reasonably broad audience. [3]
  • A suit filed in compliant of denial can allow for attorney fees to be paid. If a request is denied for arbitrary or capricious reasons, a civil action can be brought by the requester. [4]
  • After one year from enactment of this bill, an agency must decide on providing the information within 20 days of the request. [5]
  • A system of tracking numbers is to be developed to track individual requests and a telephone or internet service is to be established that allows for requesters to consult on the status using the tracking number provided within ten days of the request. [6]

The bill passed the House by a 308-117 vote.

Main article: U.S. congressional efforts to amend the Freedom of Information Act

Presidential Records Act

On March 1, 2007, Rep. Waxman introduced the Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007 (H.R.1255). The bill would rescind a 2001 executive order (see Executive Order 13233) by President Bush giving current and former presidents and vice presidents the authority to withhold presidential records or delay their release indefinitely. On March 14, 2007, the bill passed the House, 333-93.

Main article: Presidential Records Act

Presidential library funding

On March 14, 2007, the House considered a bill, (H.R.1254), sponsored by Rep. Waxman, which would require greater disclosure of contributors to presidential library funds. Specifically, it would:

  • Require disclosure of information about contributors and that organizations established to raise the funds report quarterly on all contributions of $200 or more. The information would be required to be disclosed while a president is in office and before the federal government took delivery of the library. [3]
  • Require that the amount and date of each donation, the name and address of the contributor, if the contributor is an individual, and his/her occupation be disclosed. The data would need to be posted on a free, searchable database. [4]
  • State that it is a crime for a contributor or organization raising funds to knowingly submit false information or omit material information regarding a contribution. It would also be illegal to make a contribution in someone else’s name or to allow someone to do so. The National Archives would be required to promulgate fines and punishment for such breaches. The fines and punishments would parallel fines and punishments levied for similar violations of federal campaign law.

The bill passed by a vote of 390-34 in the House.

Main article: U.S. congressional actions on presidential library funding

Oversight and investigation actions

As ranking minority member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (previously called the House Committee on Government Reform) in the 109th Congress and chair of the committee in the 110th Congress, Waxman spearheaded many investigations of executive branch activities.

Main article: House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

HUD Secretary

On May 9, 2006, Waxman called for an investigation into comments made by Alphonso Jackson, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, in which he implied that he cancelled a contract because the recipient expressed a negative opinion about President George W. Bush.[7] See Alphonso Jackson for more.

Main article: House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

National Smart Grant

On August 24, 2006, Waxman wrote to the Secretary of Education seeking information regarding the exclusion of evolutionary biology from the list of acceptable majors for the "National Smart Grant" program. Waxman cited a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education which noted that a blank line now appeared where the listing for evolutionary biology would typically be.[8]

Main article: House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Inquiry into Bush administration suppression of scientist

On September 19, 2006, Waxman sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez inquiring as to whether members of his staff suppressed a federal scientist from discussing the link between hurricanes and global warming. The inquiry was a response to a series of emails that Waxman had received from Commerce Department staffers. In order to investigate the matter further, he requested that Gutierrez provide him with:

  • All internal documents which discuss the Bush administration’s position on the link between hurricanes and global warming since August 1, 2005.
  • The role of the Commerce Department in determining which scientists could talk to the press regarding the issue after August 1, 2005.[9][10]

Main article: House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Investigation of the Republican National Committee

On Wednesday, April 4, 2007, Waxman requested e-mails from Republican National Committee servers that could help the investigation into administration officials using federal resources for political purposes. Hearings have already been held to discuss the controversial actions of the General Services Administration, under the direction of Administrator Lurita Doan. Waxman noted that the Congressional Research Service has found this could be a violation of the Hatch Act.

Main article: House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Whistleblower protection

In the 110th Congress, Congress considered the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007 (H.R.985), a measure that would provide greater protection for individuals who go public with information of suspected corporate or governmental wrongdoing. These "whistleblowers" often suffer negative repercussions for their actions. [11]

On March 14, the House considered the bill, which had been sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). It was designed to provide better federal government protection for those who go public with suspected wrongdoing. Specifically, the bill would do the following:

  • Allow a complainant who thinks he/she is suffering reprisal for having blown the whistle to ask the agency Inspector General for an investigation and report within 120 days. Then, the agency head would decide if reprisal took place and either deny relief of implement corrective action including a return of a security clearance if necessary. Expenses and consequential damages and compensatory damages including attorney fees, interest, reasonable expert fees and costs could also be reimbursed (along with back pay, benefits, medical costs and travel expenses). [12]
  • Extend whistleblower protections to transportation screeners. [13]
  • Extend whistelblower protections to those whose complaints come under the heading of abuse of authority, including political interference with science. An example would be to take actions to compromise the validity or accuracy of federally funded research or analysis and the dissemination of false or misleading scientific, medical or technical information. [14]
  • Would codify the belief test for all whistleblower disclosures. The belief test asks if a disinterested observer with knowledge of the essential facts known to or readily ascertainable by the employee, former employee or applicant could reasonably conclude that the actions of the government show such violations, mismanagement, waste, abuse of danger. The accused official, the subject of the whistleblower disclosure, would be scrutinized as to whether or not he/she acted in good faith. The accuser or court could rebut the good faith argument based on providing "substantial evidence" rather than "irrefragable proof" was the requirement under previous law. [15] The bill passed 331-94.

Main article: Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007

Tobacco Issues

This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

  1. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
  2. OpenCongress: H.R.1590
  3. Robert McElroy, "Freedom Of Information Requests Process Clarified and Improved," TheWeekInCongress, March 16, 2007.
  4. Robert McElroy, "Freedom Of Information Requests Process Clarified and Improved," TheWeekInCongress, March 16, 2007.
  5. Robert McElroy, "Freedom Of Information Requests Process Clarified and Improved," TheWeekInCongress, March 16, 2007.
  6. Robert McElroy, "Freedom Of Information Requests Process Clarified and Improved," TheWeekInCongress, March 16, 2007.
  7. Henry Waxman and Barney Frank, Letter to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. House of Representatives, May 9, 2006.
  8. "Rep. seeks answers about evolution's disappearance from federal grant list," Raw Story, August 24, 2006.
  9. Henry Waxmam, Letter from Rep. Henry Waxman (R-CA) to Chamber of Commerce Secretary Carl Gutierrez, U.S. House of Representatives (via TPM Documents Collection), September 19, 2006.
  10. Paul Kiel, "NOAA: You Don't Need That Weatherman to Know Which Way Global Warming Goes," TPM Muckraker, September 19, 2006.
  11. Robert McElroy, "Government Whistleblowers Granted Broad Protection," TheWeekInCongress, March 16, 2007.
  12. Robert McElroy, "Government Whistleblowers Granted Broad Protection," TheWeekInCongress, March 16, 2007.
  13. Robert McElroy, "Government Whistleblowers Granted Broad Protection," TheWeekInCongress, March 16, 2007.
  14. Robert McElroy, "Government Whistleblowers Granted Broad Protection," TheWeekInCongress, March 16, 2007.
  15. Robert McElroy, "Government Whistleblowers Granted Broad Protection," TheWeekInCongress, March 16, 2007.

Rep. Waxman has a long history of investigating and attempting to regulate the tobacco industry to benefit public health.

Rep. Waxman appeared on Face the Nation on March 27, 1994, saying that classifying tobacco as a drug isn't the answer. Because cigarettes are unsafe, he said, they would have to be banned. But, he said, we're not about to ban cigarettes; the regulations at Congressional level would have be to have a nicotine-free cigarette or, if it has nicotine, a warning label about the additive qualities of nicotine. He stated that Congress should limit availability of cigarettes to keep them out of the hands of minors and regulate cigarette advertising and promotion.(AP 3/27/94)

Rep. Waxman accused Philip Morris of suppressing a 1983 study it financed that suggested nicotine in cigarettes was addicting.(Reuters 4/5/94) He called cigarettes "the single most dangerous consumer product ever sold."(BNA HCD 4/15/94) At a Waxman subcommittee hearing on 4/1/4/94, he said to Reynolds Tobacco CEO James Johnston, "Twinkies don't kill people, Mr. Johnston. The difference between Twinkies and cigarettes is death. Your product kills people."(BNA HCD 4/15/94)

Letter to Alberto Gonzales

On July 24, Waxman, along with Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales addressing the severe budget shortages found in many U.S. Attorney offices throughout the country. The letter noted several examples which the congressmen felt were cause for concern. In Los Angeles, for example, they cited that 40 of the 190 assistant U.S. Attorney positions in California’s Central District were currently vacant. In addition, two federal offices began charging defendants for copies of documents. In another office, an electronic lock was placed on the supply closet, requiring prosecutors to fill out paperwork in order to get stationary supplies. The congressmen also argued that budget shortages have led to a decrease in prosecutions on lesser felonies by the federal government. Given the fact that funding for U.S. Attorney office actually rose in previous years, the congressmen wrote the letter hoping for some answers by Attorney General Gonzales.[1]

Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

In 2007, Waxman sponsored the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act which would give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) greater authority to regulate tobacco products in an effort to assist current smokers with quitting and prevent tobacco manufacturers from enticing youth to smoke.[2]

Main article: Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (H.R. 1108) 2007

National security and foreign policy

On May 11, 2007, as chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Waxman expanded his investigation of military contracts to include the Coast Guard's "Integrated Deepwater Program," a long-term Coast Guard modernization program. Funding for the program was included in the Security and Accountability For Every Port Act of 2006, or the SAFE Port Act.

Main article: Security and Accountability For Every Port Act of 2006

Ethics legislation

On February 13, 2007, The Hill newspaper reported that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was expected to move legislation that would place strict ethics limits on executive branch officials. The measures were seen as exceeding the limits the House previously adopted for itself back in January. Rep. Waxman, Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee was scheduled, on February 13, to hold a hearing on the new measures and planned to mark up the legislation in committee the following day. These proposals appeared to be in response to the various scandals that surfaced during President Bush’s term. Specifically, the controversies ranging from the establishment of a secret energy task force to the paying of political pundits for favorable reviews. A sweeping reform being considered by Waxman, under the Executive Branch Reform Act of 2007, H.R.984, would require executive-branch officials to report all significant contacts they have with any private interest related to an official government action. This would entail administration officials to report, four times per year, with whom they have met during the previous three months, the subject matter of those meetings, and the name of any clients represented.

Main article: Federal ethics legislation

Reparations for Japanese Latin Americans

Waxman cosponsored The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act in the 110th Congress which would establish a commission that would determine the facts and circumstances involving the relocation, internment and deportation of Japanese Latin Americans.[3]

Main article: Redress for Japanese Latin Americans/ U.S. legislation#Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act of 2007


Waxman was born September 12, 1939 in Los Angeles. He attended college at University of California, Los Angeles, earning a bachelor's degree in political science in 1961. Waxman also attended UCLA's law school, receiving his law degree in 1964. After graduating, he worked as a lawyer and member of the California Assembly before being elected to the House.

Waxman was first elected to the House in 1975 to California's 30th District. The district includes the complete cities of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Malibu, Westlake Village, West, and Woodland Hills, as well as such areas of Los Angeles as Beverly-Fairfax, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Beverlywood, Topanga, Agoura, Chatsworth and Westwood.

Before the Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives in 1995, Waxman was a powerful figure in the House as chair of the Commerce Committee's 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.

2006 elections

In 2006, the Republicans nominated David Nelson Jones to face Waxman in his November 2006 bid for reelection. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006)[4] Waxman retained his seat.

2008 elections

This information was gathered by volunteer researchers as part of the Superdelegate Transparency Project on the superdelegates for the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. For more info see the California superdelegate tracker or visit the STP homepage.

Before Hillary Clinton conceded the race, Henry A. Waxman, as a superdelegate, had not endorsed a candidate for President.

  • For more information and sources, see the state page for this superdelegate linked to in the blue box above.

Positions and Views

According to his Web site, his 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.

Rep. Waxman has been involved in health issues since 1969, when he was appointed to the California State Assembly Health Committee. In Congress, Rep. Waxman has sponsored a long list of health bills that have been enacted into law. These measures include the Ryan White CARE Act, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Mortality Prevention Act, the Safe Medical Devices Act, the Patent Term Restoration and Drug Competition Act, and the Orphan Drug Act.

Rep. Waxman has also passed legislation that improves the quality of nursing homes and home health services and that sets policy for childhood immunization programs, vaccine compensation, tobacco education programs, communicable disease research, community and migrant health centers, maternal and child health care, family planning centers, health maintenance organizations, and drug regulation and reform.

Throughout the 1980s, Rep. Waxman championed national health care reform and improvements in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. He successfully led the fight for improved prenatal and infant care for low-income families, for Medicaid coverage of all children in poverty, for protection against impoverishment for the spouses of persons in nursing homes, and for more services in the community for people needing long-term care. He has also been a long-time advocate for comprehensive prescription drug coverage in Medicare.

In the environmental arena, Rep. Waxman was one of the primary authors of the 1990 Clean Air Act, which sets out a comprehensive program to combat smog, acid rain, toxic air emissions, and ozone depletions. He also sponsored the 1986 and 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments, the 1996 Food Quality Act (which regulates pesticides), the Radon Abatement Act, and the Lead Contamination Control Act. Rep. Waxman is continuing to pursue legislation to control indoor air pollution, and global warming.

In 1994, Rep. Waxman chaired a series of hearings to investigate tobacco industry wrongdoing. At one of those meetings, the CEO's from the largest tobacco companies swore under oath that nicotine was not addictive and that smoking cigarettes was not proven to cause diseases.[5]

Rep. Waxman is a leader in efforts to assist the elderly by providing them with opportunities for better health care through such programs as improved long-term nursing care and better housing and nutrition. A strong defender of the Social Security System, he fought moves to reduce benefits and to increase the retirement age. He was a co-author of legislation that abolished mandatory retirement for Federal employees and raised the retirement age in the private sector from 65 to 70.

Rep. Waxman has been a leading supporter of the right of women to have freedom of choice with respect to safe and legal abortions, including the full extension of this right to lower-income women who depend on the Medicaid program for health care. He has been at the forefront of efforts to stop any limitations on this right. He strongly opposes the prohibition of federally funded clinics from offering abortion information and counseling.

Since coming to Congress, Rep. Waxman has earned the reputation of being an expert on Middle East policy and an effective proponent of American aid to guarantee Israel's security and survival.

In 2006, Waxman co-sponsored legislation, HR 1108, to allow the FDA to regulate tobacco.

Committees and Affiliations

Following the 2008 congressional elections, Waxman waged a campaign to unseat Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) as chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Waxman held the No. 2 position on the committee, but disagreed with Dingell regarding environmental legislation and, most notably, emissions standards for automobile manufacturers. Waxman received the support of many incoming freshman, and said he would use the chairmanship to effect change by working closely with President-Elect Barack Obama. The final tally was 137-122 in favor of Waxman.[6][7][8]


Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

Caucuses and Coalitions

  • Congressional Children's Working Group Steering Committee

Boards and other Affiliations

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on Henry A. Waxman. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


DC Office:
2204 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-3976
Fax: 202-225-4099
Web Email

District Office - Los Angeles:
8436 West Third Street, Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: 323-651-1040
Phone: 818-878-7400
Fax: 323-655-0502

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Paul Kiel, "Federal Prosecutors Without Paper Clips," TPM Muckraker, July 24, 2006.
  2. Kennedy, Waxman, Cornyn, and Davis introduce tobacco legislation
  4. 2006 Race: California District 30, Open Secrets.
  5. Academic Senate, Tobacco CEO's Statement to Congress, University of California at San Franciso.
  6. John M. Broder, "A Power Duo, Dingells Battle on Two Fronts", New York Times, November 15, 2008.
  7. Coral Davenport, "Waxman Topples Dingell, Claims Gavel at House Energy and Commerce," CQ Politics, November 20, 2008
  8. John M. Broder and Carl Hulse, "Behind House Struggle, Long and Tangled Roots", New York Times, November 22, 2008.

External resources

Reports and documents

Local blogs and discussion sites

External articles

Articles by Henry Waxman

<tdo>resource_id=4665 resource_code=waxman_henry search_term=Henry A. Waxman</tdo>

Corresponding article on Wikipedia and Cause Caller. (If Cause Caller link does not work, pick from its list of senators and representatives.)

Current Office: U.S. House of Representatives
111th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
House Energy and Commerce Committee
Ranking Member On:

110th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
Ranking Member On:

Congressional Children's Working Group Steering Committee
Committees: House Committee on Energy and Commerce, House Committee on Energy and Commerce/Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality, House Committee on Energy and Commerce/Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials, House Committee on Energy and Commerce/Subcommittee on Health, House Committee on Energy and Commerce/Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 5, 1974
First Took Current Office:
January 14, 1975
Next Election:
November 2, 1010
Term Ends:
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
California State Assembly,
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
1. 8436 West Third Street, Suite 600, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: 323-651-1040 / Fax: 323-655-0502

Campaign Contact:

Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

Phone: / Fax:

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: September 12, 1939