Henry Waxman Announces Retirement, and Pelosi Loses Another Ally

Rep. Henry Waxman in his Rayburn Building office. 
National Journal
Sarah Mimms and Elahe Izadi
Jan. 30, 2014, 6:21 a.m.

After 20 terms in of­fice, Rep. Henry Wax­man will re­tire at the end of this year.

In a state­ment, the Cali­for­nia Demo­crat was em­phat­ic that he is not re­tir­ing be­cause he thinks Demo­crats have no chance to re­take the House. He ad­ded, “There are ele­ments of Con­gress today that I do not like. I ab­hor the ex­trem­ism of the tea-party Re­pub­lic­ans. I am em­bar­rassed that the greatest le­gis­lat­ive body in the world too of­ten op­er­ates in a par­tis­an in­tel­lec­tu­al va­cu­um, deny­ing sci­ence, re­fus­ing to listen to ex­perts, and ig­nor­ing facts.”

“But I am not leav­ing out of frus­tra­tion with Con­gress. Even in today’s en­vir­on­ment, there are op­por­tun­it­ies to make real pro­gress,” he con­tin­ued. “The reas­on for my de­cision is simple. After 40 years in Con­gress, it’s time for someone else to have the chance to make his or her mark, ideally someone who is young enough to make the long-term com­mit­ment that’s re­quired for real le­gis­lat­ive suc­cess.”

Wax­man is the second of Minor­ity Lead­er Nancy Pelosi’s closest al­lies to an­nounce his re­tire­ment this year. Rep. George Miller, also from Cali­for­nia, an­nounced his planned de­par­ture earli­er this month. He and Wax­man were both mem­bers of the fresh­man class of 1975 and served 40 years in the House.

Wax­man lead the power­ful En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee in 2010, where he helped to au­thor and pass the Af­ford­able Care Act. Rep. John Din­gell, D-Mich., the longest serving mem­ber of Con­gress, is poised to take his po­s­i­tion as the rank­ing mem­ber on the com­mit­tee when Wax­man leaves at the end of the year.

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