- Has represented California's 30th District in the House of Representatives since 1975
- Favors government-controlled universal health insurance for all Americans
- Facilitated the 2004 efforts of antiwar activists to deliver $600,000 worth of cash and medical supplies to the families of terrorist insurgents in Iraq
- Co-sponsored a 2009 bill calling for the creation of a “cap-and-trade” arrangement mandating reductions in greenhouse gas emissions
See also: Congressional
in Los Angeles, California on September 12, 1939, Henry Arnold
Waxman earned a
B.A. in political science from UCLA in
1961 and a J.D. from UCLA Law School in 1964. He served three terms
in the California Assembly from 1969 until 1974, at
which time he was elected to represent
California's 30th Congressional District. He has held that seat ever since.
financial backer of Waxman's many political campaigns has been the American
Association for Justice,
formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Waxman
has drawn strong
support from the members and political action committees of
large and powerful labor unions like AFSCME
Waxman also has received the endorsement of the Democratic Socialists of America.
December 2004, Waxman and
three fellow Democrats -- Senator Barbara Boxer and Congressmen Raul Grijalva and Dennis Kucinich
-- wrote diplomatic courtesy letters on behalf of a contingent of
antiwar activists who, in an effort to draw attention to "the
unjust nature" of the Iraq War, wished to personally deliver a
in cash and medical supplies to the families of the terrorist insurgents who were actively fighting American troops in Fallujah. Those traveling in the contingent were representatives of the mission's sponsoring
organizations, which included the Middle East Children's Alliance, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Global
Pink, United for Peace and Justice, Project Guerrero Azteca for
Peace, Peace Action, Voices in
the Wilderness, and Iraq Occupation Watch. The most
prominent individual participants were Jodie Evans and Medea
In 2006 Waxman held
Congressional hearings on what he characterized as excessive
profiteering by contractors who were engaged in rebuilding projects in war-torn Iraq.
Similarly, Waxman has called
for limits on the profits of oil and pharmaceutical
companies, which he portrays as predatory and exploitative
In the summer of 2008, Waxman, who supports the lifting of the U.S. ban on travel to Cuba, dispatched a staffer named Andrew McCanse Wright to conduct a nine-day "fact-finding mission" inthat country. The trip was funded by a grant from the Center for Democracy in the Americas, which has ties to the Institute for Policy Studies.
identifies health and environmental issues as his chief legislative
priorities. Regarding the former, he favors an expansion of
Medicare and Medicaid coverage and, ultimately, the establishment of
a single-payer, universal health insurance system for all Americans. He is a strong backer of Health
Care For America Now, an organization that likewise advocates a single-payer model. During the healthcare debate of
2009-10, however, Waxman -- conceding that a single-payer system was unlikely to be
politically feasible -- called instead for the inclusion of a "public
option” in any new legislation, whereby a government insurance
agency would “compete” with private insurers and inevitably
drive them out of business.
matters, Waxman is best known for having collaborated with Rep. Ed Markey
(D-Massachusetts) in March
2009 to sponsor the 1,200-page American Clean Energy and
Security Act, popularly dubbed the Waxman-Markey Act. This
program was a
arrangement mandating steep reductions
in greenhouse-gas emissions, coupled with punitive taxes on any
businesses exceeding their predetermined emissions allowances. After Waxman-Markey was passed
by a 219-to-212 vote in the House of Representatives, Americans for Tax Reform -- a non-partisan group that "opposes all tax increases as a matter of principle" -- reported
that Waxman, on the day before the cap-and-trade vote was conducted, had tried to influence the votes of uncommitted House Democrats by transferring at least $16,000 in campaign contributions to their coffers.
In 2007 Waxman served as an advisory-committee member with the Jewish Fund for Justice, a forerunner to Jewish Funds for Justice, which advocates wealth-redistribution as a means of combating America's “gross economic inequality.” Waxman is
also a supporter of Public
Citizen; he has served on the advisory
committee of the Progressive
Majority; and he is a member
of the Sierra Club.
In the House of Representatives, Waxman belongs to the Congressional
Progressive Caucus. For an overview of his legislative
voting record on a variety of major issues, click
In January 2014, Waxman announced that he planned to retire from Congress at the end of his current term.
For additional information on Henry Waxman, click here.