Rep. Waxman to retire at end of term
January 30th, 2014
11:11 AM ET
10 months ago

Rep. Waxman to retire at end of term

Updated 3:51 p.m. ET on 1/30/2014

(CNN) - Rep. Henry Waxman, a longtime Democrat from California, announced Thursday that he won't seek re-election to a 21st term this November.

“In 1974, I announced my first campaign for Congress," he said in a statement. "Today, I am announcing that I have run my last campaign. I will not seek reelection to the Congress and will leave after 40 years in office at the end of this year."

Waxman, 74, becomes the seventh House Democrat to announce his retirement at the end of the current Congress, in addition to 10 House Republicans.

Democrats need to win back a challenging 17 House seats from the Republicans in November to grab control of the chamber. Most analysts believe they have little chance of reaching that goal.

While he denied that his decision came out of frustration with Congress, Waxman lamented the fierce partisanship on Capitol Hill and blasted tea party conservatives.

“There are elements of Congress today that I do not like. I abhor the extremism of the Tea Party Republicans,” he said. “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.”

He also denied that he’s leaving because he thinks Democrats have no chance of retaking the House.

“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 represents California's 33rd Congressional District, which covers part of Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills.

First elected in the wake of Watergate, the congressman has become a close ally of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. He currently serves as the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

"Thanks to Henry’s leadership, Americans breath cleaner air, drink cleaner water, eat safer food, purchase safer products, and, finally, have access to quality, affordable healthcare," President Barack Obama said in a statement. "Today, he continues to advocate tirelessly on behalf of Los Angeles and California as he leads efforts to address a changing climate and make sure every American has the economic security that comes with health insurance.  Henry will leave behind a legacy as an extraordinary public servant and one of the most accomplished legislators of his or any era.  Michelle and I wish him, his wife Janet, and his family all the best as they begin the next chapter of their lives."

CNN's Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2014 • California • Henry Waxman
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    That's too bad. He's not the prettiest congresscritter out there, but he is one of the better ones in some ways.

    January 30, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  2. John Illinois

    Thank God!!!! Another ultra liberal gone!

    January 30, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  3. acepaul

    Term limits!!! Nobody should be in office this long.

    January 30, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  4. hitman

    Don't let the door hit you in the rear on the way out!

    January 30, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. Pi

    I just never believed this sort of thing was meant to be a "career"...and I can't help but think that those who've made it such – on both sides of the aisle – are a large part of the problem.

    January 30, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  6. jimmyva18

    Don't let the door hit ya, Waxman. You, are a huge reason that CA is as messed up as it is, and is the laughinngstock of the World!!!

    January 30, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  7. Phillip

    Jefferson is rolling over in his grave at the thought that anyone is even speaking about a "21st term".

    Congress was never meant to be a career. Just a temporary calling of public service.

    January 30, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  8. Jon

    He has done a great job, and hopefully another good Democrat like him will be elected.

    January 30, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  9. My2Sense4U

    Okey-Doke.

    January 30, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  10. Snowy ATL

    I agree with term limits. Fresh perspectives are important for progress; Case in point, our government's inability to get anything done.

    January 30, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  11. todd

    Only 434 more to go.

    January 30, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  12. Namedave

    About Time.

    January 30, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  13. steve

    Glad he's going.

    January 30, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  14. Me

    21terms that is a long time to hold office. We need term limits for all public offices even if it's dog catcher

    January 30, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  15. Samuel Johnston

    Why should he, he's made a good living at the public trough.
    These career politicians are a joke !
    And until this nation imposes term limits you'll never catch me voting again.

    Just like the military where they hide out for 20 years because they can't make it in the private sector. Then get out and milk the V.a. for it's worth.
    And vote tea-party crying about those on food stamps.

    I've met veterans who flush their meds down the toilet or sell them, when ask why when it deprives others of needed services I got the "because I'm entitled".

    That's how these politicians think as well. This guy will retire with the golden parachutes of benefits. And made very little difference in the nation.
    Last time I checked crime and poverty are off the charts.

    January 30, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  16. Sniffit

    "I agree with term limits. "

    The founding fathers overall didn't. Guess how I know that. Guess.

    January 30, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  17. just saying

    good riddance!! it is hilarious that this far left ultra liberal complains about the extremist views of others while not realizing his extremist views are far left. it shows just what kind of bubble these far left democrats from california live in.

    and one favor before you go, can to please take the other lunatic from california with you? nancy pelosi, please, can you please take her too?!

    January 30, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  18. Randy

    He's right. The "Tea/GOP" mentality is like a cancer. More of a disease than an ideology.

    January 30, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  19. Dominican Mama 4 Obammy

    I will not miss Waxman and his LIB politics!

    January 30, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  20. Fair is Fair

    “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."
    -------–
    Then you should have left about 30 years ago, chump.

    January 30, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  21. Donna

    I doubt our Founding Fathers foresaw people living into their 100s and becoming professional politicians staying in seats for 40, 50, 60 years and until they were senile and in ther 90s or 100 and dying during roll call. The politicians of today are nothing like the politicians of back then.

    January 30, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  22. R Long

    He is advocating congress as a career. Thats exactly WHY liberals are a failure as an ideal. Tea Party holds to the constitution and THIS guy says they are BAD. It tells you everything you need to know about what is wrong with HIM.

    January 30, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  23. Malory Archer

    The Real Tom Paine

    Speaking of trains, Scott killed a high-speed rail project that would have brought jobs to FL: you can't make trains run on time if there are none. It seems as though the Right expects infrastructure to never need updating or repairs, and everything to run for free. Who cares about that, as long as billionaires are protected, right?

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    jebbo killed the rail initiative first. Florida residents voted overwhelmingly for high-speed rail when it was put to referendum on the 2000 ballot, but as jebbo told his merry band of reichwing sychophants in Tallahassee prior to election day, he had a "dirty trick" up his sleeve to end it should voters approve – now 13 years, 2.5 months later, here we are!

    January 30, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  24. Tim

    Sooo ... will Mr. Waxmann get a figure at Madame Tussauds' in Washington D.C.?

    January 30, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    jimmyva18 wrote:

    Don't let the door hit ya, Waxman. You, are a huge reason that CA is as messed up as it is, and is the laughinngstock of the World!!!
    ---------------------------
    What is it, besides basic demagoguery, makes you say that? As a U.S. Congressman, Waxman has very little authority over how the State of Californiz runs it's finances. Did you know that California is now projected to have a multi-billion dollar surplus?

    January 30, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
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