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

    Some people here are whining that we should have term limits. In 2010, we voted a bunch of amateurs into Congress and look what we got - the lowest rated, least productive and most obstructive Congress in the history of the republic. This Congress makes Harry Truman's infamous "Do Nothing Congress" look like a juggernaut of governance. We need experienced politicians who understand the complexity of the system and what is required to pass effective legislation. That process has been corrupted by money pouring in from super-pacs and mega-wealthy plutocrats who want to eliminate all regulating agencies and end corporate taxes. Professional politicians are not inherently bad. Lobbyists and excessive campaign costs have corrupted them. Fix that if you want better government.

    Anyway, about Henry Waxman, I'll be sorry to see the Hobbit go.

    January 30, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. HenryMiller

    Good riddance.

    January 30, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. rerarded geesus

    This is the same guy who In the documentary Bigger, Faster, Stronger didnt Know the drinking And smoking ages in the U.S. but hes a leader.

    January 30, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  4. tim

    Its funny seeing the radical wings try and figure out why they can't take total control of all branches.

    We, the People, have decided to maintain the mixed status-quo because we don't trust EITHER Progressives or Tea Partiers with total control.

    Ya see, MOST of Americans are neither Tea Partier or Progressive; and lately both parties have been pandering to the extremes.......and ignoring the center-right majority.

    So we will keep voting out those who abuse their power...regardless of what you extremists on both sides want.

    January 30, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. HenryMiller

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

    The phrase "good Democrat" is an oxymoron.

    January 30, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  6. tony

    We've always had term limits in the Constitution. They are called 'Elections".

    If you think we need something else to override the will of the people, then you have a different agenda than "Democracy".

    January 30, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. tony

    We've always had term limits in the Constitution. They are called "Elections".

    If you think we need something else to override the will of the people, then you have a different agenda than "Democracy".

    January 30, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. Silence DoGood

    @Sniffit
    "I agree with term limits. "
    The founding fathers overall didn't. Guess how I know that. Guess.
    ---------
    You usin' that thar' Internet thing agin?
    Thanks for offsetting the conservatives on here that literally type as fast as possible and make-up stuff or parrot Rush. I think G.Washington stepping down to J.Adams was a huge deal in American history because it was voluntary. With his popularity, he could have made himself a King of the US.

    January 30, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  9. mannycl

    The sooner the better. Good riddance.

    January 30, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. Scott A

    Really, he doesn't like the Tea Party, I bet the Tea Party is not too fond of him either. From one extreme to another!

    January 30, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  11. Reggie53

    It is time to get get rid of all of these career politicians. We need to see some new faces in Congress and also in the presidency. We do not need another Clinton in the White House. It will be the same old politics....time for a real change this time around not a fake change like Obama. Another person that needs to retire is Harry Reid.....we have had enough of him also.

    January 30, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  12. irish

    his quote " 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.”
    one of my biggest gripes of this congressman was exactly what he was saying about others

    January 30, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  13. Tommy G

    I am SO glad to see this far left clown go. He has done massive damage to this country in his long stint in office. Now if we could just get the rest of the Democrats to resign this country could truly start moving forward once again. Unfortunately he hails from the lunatic left coast and will likely be replaced by an even nuttier, more destructive strain of liberal looney tune.

    January 30, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. Bob

    As usual, CNN misses the real story. In December Waxman did a lengthy explanation of why he was going to run again.

    This is weird.

    And he is a liberal extremist, so he should spare the anti-extremist talk.

    January 30, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  15. ManWiththe1000PoundBrain

    Waxman on, Waxman off

    January 30, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  16. HistProfessor

    In Waxman's comment that "long term committment.. [is] required for real legislative success" we see part of his fundamental disagreement with the tea party folks. Waxman is a product of an extra-constitutional political system and the resulting thoroughly broken process that career congressmen and senators work in. Insisting on a more constitutional and democratic- small "d"- approach challenges that system and appears irrational to those who confuse the way things have been with the way things should be.

    January 30, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  17. TNPatriot

    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!!!
    ---–
    Sorry Jimmy but California is way down on the list of laughingstocks.... well below Tennessee, Alabama and North Carolina ...compliments of the tea party.

    January 30, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  18. carolina corpus

    I really would have like to hear of his accomplishments...which there are probably none with the exeption of giving our money away and now he will have a very cosy retirement.

    January 30, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  19. Hydraulic889

    I don't see how term limits would help with the long-term management of the country. I do get that it would help mitigate the corruption we're all sick of. But it also means that nobody becomes an expert in what is (or at least, what should be) a difficult job. Some politicians are not corrupt, and some are natural leaders who know how to get things done.

    Apply this same concept to other professions. When you want a job done right, do you normally turn to the people who are just starting out in that profession? Probably not too often.

    January 30, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  20. IDoubtIt

    Sure...stick the country with Pbamacare then retire. You know McCain is planning the same thing with amnesty right?

    January 30, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  21. Hector Slagg

    Oh, Sorry,
    Tea Party Republican's are trying to keep some fiscal sanity in the government. Waxman is one of those that extended the Nanny State. Now a huge Albrotross around the neck of the populous. When will people wise up.

    January 30, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  22. jdalco

    He was in there way too long. Would be nice to see a conservative in the seat but I doubt CA can manage that. Folks like this are why we need to look at term limits

    January 30, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  23. srcactus

    One the "Too Comfortable" ones. The county will be better off, not because he's a democrat or republican but because he's been in Washington way to long!

    January 30, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Snowy ATL wrote:

    I agree with term limits. Fresh perspectives are important for progress; Case in point, our government's inability to get anything done.
    --------------------------------
    Curiously enough, the facts show that the veterans Waxman are more willing to compromise and work across the aisle than most of the newest members, most particularly the Tea Party caucus members who've made campaign promises to block anything the other side tries to do.

    January 30, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  25. jeffdewitt

    Good riddance.

    He complains about the "Tea Party extremists" while he helped inflict 0bamaCare on us. He is far more extreme than any Tea Party Congressman.

    January 30, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
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