After 35 years in the House of Representatives, Waxman, the mustached congressman from California, offers a very readable insider's account of his 35 years in the House. The longtime governmental watchdog crusaded for AIDS awareness, the Clean Air Act and stronger tobacco regulations as chairman of the Health and Environment subcommittee. The book chronicles the strategies and horse trading necessary to enact these regulations, including coalition building, raising public awareness and remaining informed on the countless issues affecting his constituency. Waxman doesn't romanticize his position, and admits that the qualities that have best served him have been "patience, a knack for finding allies... and the ability to persevere." His conviction that government can better the lives of citizens is uplifting and strengthened by his record of implementing landmark legislation. The book frequently reads too much like a civics lesson to be fully engrossing, but the explanation of the workings of a widely misunderstood government body is a public service from a committed civil servant. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Waxman Report: How Congress Really Worksby Henry Waxman
For four decades, Waxman has taken visionary and principled positions on crucial issues and been a driving
At a time when some of the most sweeping national initiatives in decades are being debated, Congressman Henry Waxman offers a fascinating inside account of how Congress really works by describing the subtleties and complexities of the legislative process.
For four decades, Waxman has taken visionary and principled positions on crucial issues and been a driving force for change. Because of legislation he helped champion, our air is cleaner, our food is safer, and our medical care better. Thanks to his work as a top watchdog in Congress, crucial steps have been taken to curb abuses on Wall Street, to halt wasteful spending in Iraq, and to ban steroids from Major League Baseball. Few legislators can match his accomplishments or his insights on how good work gets done in Washington.
In this book, Waxman affords readers a rare glimpse into how this is achieved-the strategy, the maneuvering, the behind-the-scenes deals. He shows how the things we take for granted (clear information about tobacco's harmfulness, accurate nutritional labeling, important drugs that have saved countless lives) started out humbly-derided by big business interests as impossible or even destructive. Sometimes, the most dramatic breakthroughs occur through small twists of fate or the most narrow voting margin. Waxman's stories are surprising because they illustrate that while government's progress may seem glacial, much is happening, and small battles waged over years can yield great results.
At a moment when so much has been written about what's wrong with Congress-the gridlock, the partisanship, the influence of interest groups-Henry Waxman offers sophisticated, concrete examples of how government can (and should) work.
A welcome look at the internal workings of the legislative branch essential for political junkies.Kirkus
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Meet the Author
Congressman Henry Waxman has represented the Los Angeles area of California since 1974. He is the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. During his thirty-plus years in Congress, he has helped craft landmark legislation addressing health and the environment.
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Henry Waxman is easier to respect than to like. His book is a useful primer on how the legislative process works and he has some important reforms under his belt. There is a certain element of self-congratulation in the book, but based on his performance on CNN in hearings, he is an incisive interrogator and no-one to cross. He believes that government can accomplish good things with a positive effect on ordinary people and regrets the loss of confidence and element of irrationality becoming more prevalent in current debate. He has not been able to make any headway against the powerful NRA lobby, but has achieved the bureaucratic regulation of tobacco by the flawed FDA. Worthwhile and earnest in tone.
This book was the best read for me in July 09. The books describes in detail how and why Congress works as it does. I learn a lot from his book and the process of legislation. I recommend this book. Congress needs more people like Henry Waxman in Congress and less Repugs that only work to provide comfort to their Lobbyist!
If Waxman was at all honest, he would have written about cowering to a party line rather than voting your conscience; he would have written about the power of special-interest dollars and how that easily sways how a politician votes. Heck, he would have covered how disgusted America is at the entire political spectrum, party affiliation aside, and the arrogance of Washington. Until he does, this book is good to take camping in the off-chance you run out of toilet paper on the trail.