CONGRESSMAN HENRY WAXMAN (D-CA)
Henry A. Waxman represents California's 29th Congressional District, which includes the complete city of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and West Hollywood, as well as such areas of Los Angeles as Beverly-Fairfax, the Hollywood Hills, Hancock Park, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Westwood, and Los Feliz.
During his years in Congress, and especially during his tenure as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee an Health and the Environment, Waxman has devoted his attention to federal programs that improve the health of Americans and provide for the care of the aged, the disabled, and the poor. Waxman also played a major role in shaping programs that protect the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink.
He is also involved directly in a wide range of other issues because the Commerce Committee, of which he is the second most senior Democrat, has broad legislative jurisdiction. In addition to the Health Subcommittee, Waxman serves on the Committee's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. He is also a member of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee.
Waxman has been involved in health issues since 1969, when he was named to the California State Assembly Health Committee. In Congress, Waxman has sponsored a long list of health bills that have bee enacted into law. These measures include the Ryan White AIDS Care Act, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Mortality Prevention Act, the Safe Medical Devices Act, and the Orphan Drug Act.
Waxman has also passed legislation that improves the quality of nursing homes and home health service 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, 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.
In the environmental area, Waxman was one of the primary authors of the Clean Air Act of 1990, which sets out a comprehensive program to combat smog, acid rain, toxic air emissions, and ozone depletion. He also passed the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1986, the Radon Abatement Act, and the Lead Contamination Control Act. Waxman is continuing to pursue legislation to control indoor air pollution, global warming, and the adverse effects of pesticides.
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.
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. He strongly opposes the prohibition of federally funded clinics from offering abortion information and counseling.
Prior to his election to Congress, 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, Carol and Rocky Abramson, a son, Michael-David, and a grandson Ari Barak, and a granddaughter, Maya Gabrielia.