Twenty-term California Rep. Henry Waxman will retire at the end of this year, The New York Times reported Thursday.
The former chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee helped author the Affordable Care Act legislation and is a close ally of Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
In an interview with the New York Times, he said the gridlock in Congress has made things “frustrating.
“It’s been frustrating because of the extremism of Tea Party Republicans,” he said. “Nothing seems to be happening.”
“But,” he said, in a statement to National Journal, “I am not leaving out of frustration with Congress. Even in today’s environment, there are opportunities to make real progress. The reason for my decision is simple. After 40 years in Congress, it’s time for someone else to have the chance to make his or her mark, ideally someone who is young enough to make the long-term commitment that’s required for real legislative success.”
He also added that he is not a fan of the tea party.
“There are elements of Congress today that I do not like. I abhor the extremism of the tea party Republicans. I am embarrassed that the greatest legislative body in the world too often operates in a partisan intellectual vacuum, denying science, refusing to listen to experts, and ignoring facts,” he said.
Waxman is the 17th member of the House to announce retirement this year, and the seventh Democrat to do so.