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Waxman Praised as Principled Reformer

House Energy & Commerce Committee ranking member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) announced his retirement Thursday, a move that drew immediate reaction from his fellow legislators and industry stakeholders.

Waxman has been a strong voice for an open internet and active on a host of communications-related issues from media consolidation to incentive auctions, including as chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee.

"Rep. Waxman has been a force for change during his tenure in Congress and he will be missed," said National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Michael Powell. "Over the past 40 years, he has been at the center of many important technology and telecommunications issues, and has worked tirelessly to promote the development of a healthy communications and media marketplace that benefits consumers. We fully expect Rep. Waxman to remain engaged on these and other important issues throughout the remainder of his term and into the next chapter of his distinguished career."

"The person who said an 'institution is the lengthened shadow of one man' probably had Rep. Henry Waxman in mind because few lawmakers on Capitol Hill have accomplished as much for so long as Rep. Waxman," said American Cable Association President Matthew Polka. "While widely recognized for crafting health care laws designed to help America’s most vulnerable citizens, Rep. Waxman always kept his focus on the best interests of all consumers when Congress debated new telecommunications policies or when the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice had a major media or telecom merger under review."

Current Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) talked about bipartisan successes, a novel concept in today's Congress.

"Working together over the last three years, we have never allowed our principled differences to prevent us from finding common ground where we can and delivering a number of bipartisan successes, especially in the effort to improve the public health," Upton said. "[W]e still have much work to do in 2014 and I look forward to building upon our committee’s record of bipartisan success."

"Every day, Henry Waxman defines what it means to be a public servant," said Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.). "His extraordinary intellect, passion for improving the health and well-being of every American, and unmatched legislative skills to achieve those goals, made our country better. Because of him, the air we breathe is cleaner and millions more Americans have healthcare.

"Henry held the powerful — whether in government or business — accountable for their actions through his aggressive oversight. When I became Chairman of the Commerce Committee, I modeled my oversight work on his...He is a national treasure."

"Henry Waxman and I were both lucky enough to hold what I consider the best job in Congress – Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee," said Rep. Joe Barton (R- Tex.). "I was also the Ranking Member during his two year term as Chairman. In total, I have spent 27 years sitting across the dais from him. During that time we had some memorable clashes and we worked together on monumental legislation. We didn’t agree ideologically, but there was always mutual respect knowing that each was standing on principle. Henry's work ethic is unparalleled and his intelligence nearly unmatched. His passion was always on display when he was fighting for an issue he believed in."

"Over his four decades in Congress, Congressman Henry Waxman has authored some of the most consequential legislation for our country," said Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), ranking member of the Communications Subcommittee. "Congressman Waxman is unrelenting, incorruptible and a true reformer. It's been an honor to work with him and have his friendship as a fellow Californian. Henry Waxman leaves a prolific legacy for the American people, and I wish him and Janet every blessing in the years ahead."

"Henry has been a dear friend for over 30 years, and he will be greatly missed in Congress," said Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), who served with Waxman on the committee and communications subcommittee. "During his four decades in the House of Representatives, Henry has been a passionate advocate for his constituents in Los Angeles, California, and for the nation. I have worked closely with him as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where we have tackled a number of critical issues facing the country, including...expanding access to Internet services for all Americans. He has been a true leader and inspiration to all of us who serve on the Committee, and to the House Democratic Caucus."

"COMPTEL and its member companies are grateful for Congressman Waxman's 40 years of service and his long-standing advocacy on behalf of consumers and competition," said COMPTEL CEO and former House member Chip Pickering.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.