Representative Henry A. Waxman represents California's 30th Congressional District, which includes the complete cities of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Malibu, Westlake Village and West Hollywood, as well as such areas of Los Angeles as Beverly-Fairfax, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Beverlywood, Topanga, Agoura, Chatsworth and Westwood.
In 2007, Rep. Waxman became Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the principal investigative committee in the House. From 1997 to 2006, Rep. Waxman served as Ranking Member of the Committee, conducting investigations into a wide range of topics from the high cost of prescription drugs to waste, fraud, and abuse in government contracting. He formed a Special Investigations Division that prepared hundreds of investigative reports on local and national topics for Members of Congress.
Since 2001, Rep. Waxman has worked to oppose efforts by the Bush Administration to block congressional oversight and roll back health and environmental laws. He has launched investigations of White House ties to Enron, contract abuses in Iraq, and the politicization of science. He has also fought for disclosure of the names of the energy industry lobbyists who shaped the White House energy plan and filed suit to force the Administration to released "adjusted" data from the 2000 Census that corrects for the undercount of minorities. In addition, Rep. Waxman has repeatedly fought efforts by EPA to relax important air pollution and drinking water protections and by FDA to weaken enforcement of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
A leader on health and environmental issues, Rep. Waxman has fought for universal health insurance, comprehensive Medicare and Medicaid coverage, tobacco regulation, AIDS research and treatment, air and water quality standards, pesticide regulations, nursing home quality standards, women's health research and reproductive rights, affordable prescription drugs, and community rights 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 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 an advocate for prescription drug coverage in Medicare for people with high drug expenses.
A longtime defender of the environment, Chairman Waxman most recently introduced the Safe Climate Act of 2006, which would set emissions targets to avoid dangerous, irreversible global warming. He 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. Rep. Waxman 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.
Chairman 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.
From 1979 to 1994, Rep. Waxman chaired the Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health and the Environment. He served as the Subcommittee's Ranking Member in 1995 and 1996. Rep. Waxman has also served on the Energy and Commerce Committee and sat on the Subcommittee on Health, the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality, and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
Chairman 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 and strongly opposes the prohibition of federally funded clinics from offering abortion information and counseling.
Since coming to Congress, Chairman 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.
Prior to his election to Congress, Rep. Waxman served three terms in the California State Assembly, where he was chairman of the Health Committee, the Committee on Elections and Reapportionment, and the Select Committee on Medical Malpractice. He was the author of such major legislation as the Fair Campaign Practices Act, the Fair Credit for Women Law, and the legislation establishing standards for Health Maintenance Organizations in California.
Henry Waxman was born September 12, 1939, in Los Angeles, and holds a bachelor's degree in political science from UCLA and a J.D. from the UCLA Law School. He and his wife, the former Janet Kessler, have a daughter and son-in-law, a son and daughter-in-law, and four grandchildren.