The Skimmer

1 minute read
Laura Fitzpatrick

The Waxman Report: How Congress Really Works

By Henry Waxman with Joshua Green; Twelve; 235 pages

Despite what you may have heard, Congress is a “tremendous force for good,” argues Representative Henry Waxman in a readable new book packed with supporting evidence. Beginning with the dramatic 1994 hearing at which seven Big Tobacco CEOs famously swore they didn’t think nicotine was addictive, the 18-term California Democrat recounts three decades of slugfests over public health. Waxman’s legislative trophy case–bolstered by numerous bipartisan victories–is impressive. Among the highlights are battles to secure funding for HIV/AIDS research at a time when at least one colleague still favored quarantining the nation’s gay men on a remote island; passing toxic-pollutants regulation in the wake of the 1984 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, India; and slapping nutritional labels on packaged food despite protests from lobbyists. Though brimming with wonky details, the book is a fast-paced civics primer for anyone who wants a reminder of what good governance can accomplish.


More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at