of California
in the House of Representatives

Tuesday, January 27, 1998

Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Speaker, it is an honor to join today with my colleagues in tribute to one of the giants of the House of Representatives, John E. Moss.

He retired from his career in this body in 1978. But the inspiration he gave to the members who learned at his side is with us still.

I was privileged to begin my career in Congress as a member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of what was then the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce. John Moss chaired that Subcommittee. He taught us all what tough, fair, tenacious, and totally professional investigatory work could be. He used his power to make Government programs and bureaucracy do what they were supposed to do: carry out the laws and serve the public. And he did it whether the cause was popular or not, embarassing to the Administration or his own party or not, whether he had to stand alone or not.

I particularly remember some of the early work he did around the issues of nursing home conditions, unnecessary surgery, and abuses by prepaid health plans. They were trailblazers.

We all know of the commitment and achievements of John Moss to open up government information to ordinary citizens through the Freedom of Information Act. We know of his achievements in the fields of product safety and consumer protection. But perhaps not so widely known is the influence his example and integrity had on so many other Members and staff. Mike Lemov, who served as his Chief Counsel on Oversight, said recently in a tribute to his Chairman that John Moss invariably championed the underdog, and relished uphill fights. And that sums him up as well as any words could. He was in many ways, for so many of us, the conscience of the House.

If it needed to be done for the little guy, he was ready to do it. If he needed to take on big business or big government, the Defense Department or the drug companies, he was there. And he did it with thorough, effective, untiring work.

I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to serve with him. He has been gone from this House for many years, but the public that he championed continues to benefit because of his work and accomplishments. We would all be proud to leave such a legacy.

[Congressional Record: January 27, 1998 (Extensions)]
[Page E23-E24]
Used by Permission

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