Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of California stands in his Capitol Hill office beside a wall displaying his legislative accomplishments. Waxman, 74, said Thursday that he would retire after 40 years in the House of Representatives. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

itoggle caption J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Rep. Henry Waxman of California speaks during a 2011 hearing in Washington, D.C. The 20-term Democrat was among the "Watergate babies" elected in 1974. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Alex Wong/Getty Images