After 40 years in office, Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman will retire. "I think it’s time to let somebody else come in and take on some of these fights," Waxman told Politico of his decision to step down after his current term ends. Waxman is 74.
Speaking to The Washington Post, Waxman elaborated on what he sees as his legacy in Congress. In short, the California congressman is hoping he will be remembered as a productive legislator who could and did reach across the aisle to get things done:
“You outlast [the opposition]. You keep working. You keep looking for combinations. Everything I ever passed into law, with one exception, had bipartisan support,” he added. “And the exception was the Affordable Care Act, where the Republicans should have been working with us but didn’t want to give President Obama a victory, even though the law was based on a lot of Republican ideas.”
(Especially given his involvement with the Affordable Care Act, this assessment is probably not one that is shared by his Republican colleagues).
Some of his most notable legislative achievements — beyond, of course, Obamacare — include the Clean Air Act Amendments of the 1990s, laws increasing nutrition standards for infant formula, and the Ryan White CARE Act, which opened up access to medical care for AIDS patients. He's also pushed for a series of regulations pertaining to prescription drugs, food safety, and tobacco use.
Waxman is the ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which he used to chair.