Cover image for Honor in the House : Speaker Tom Foley
Honor in the House : Speaker Tom Foley
Biggs, Jeffrey R., 1941-
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Publication Information:
Pullman : Washington State University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xiii, 338 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Western roots -- Congress in the 1960s -- The 1970s: prelude to House leadership -- In the leadership: the Reagan years -- Majority leader -- Into the Maelstrom: the speakership -- A new democratic speaker with an established Republican president -- War without and war within -- Congress on the defensive: the "house bank" and other "scandals" -- The end of "gridlock" -- Unified government: looking for a majority -- Legislating a presidential agenda -- Unseating a Speaker: the 1994 reelection race -- What lies ahead, what's left behind.
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E840.8.F65 B54 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



One of the nation's most influential and respected members of Congress in the post-World War II period reflects on his 30 years in office, including five years as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Biggs and Foley have provided an unusual collaboration of reminiscences in a book that reveals how Congress and the nation's government really work.

Author Notes

Jeffrey R. Biggs grew up in Laramie, Wyoming, and was educated at Harvard (BA), Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand (MA) on a Fulbright, and George Washington University (PhD). His twenty-one years in the Foreign Service included assignments as a cultural center director in Brazil, press attache in Portugal, and deputy chief of mission in Bolivia. He also was an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow. Biggs was press secretary/spokesman to Representative Thomas S. Foley from 1987-1994, a visiting fellow at the Freedom Forum, and served on the faculty of the Parliamentary Institute at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress. Currently he is director of the American Political Science Association's Congressional Fellowship Program. He and his wife Janet live in Bethesda, Maryland, and have two daughters, Jennifer and Jessica.
Thomas S. Foley was born in Spokane where he attended Gonzaga High School. He graduated from the University of Washington and the University of Washington School of Law. Admitted to the bar in 1957, he practiced law in Spokane and was appointed deputy prosecuting attorney for Spokane County in 1958. He served as assistant attorney general for the State of Washington and assistant chief clerk and special counsel of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs of the United States Senate. Foley won election as a Democrat to the House of Representatives in 1964, and represented Washington's Fifth District for thirty years. In the House he served as chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, majority whip, majority leader, and Speaker. He currently is the United States Ambassador to Japan, where he lives with his wife Heather.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Like Francis Valeo's biography of Mike Mansfield [BKL Je 1 & 15 99]--and unlike Elizabeth Drew's analysis of how Congress dealt with campaign finance reform and impeachment [BKL Je 1 & 15 99]--this tale of the congressional career of Tom Foley (D-WA), Speaker of the House from 1989 through 1994, celebrates an era when politicians went to Washington to enact legislation and meet constituent needs rather than simply to score points on the opposition. Foley spent 30 years in the House, arriving at the height of the Great Society; he lost his eastern Washington seat in the 1994 Gingrich wave. Honor in the House is an unusual blend of biography and memoir: Biggs, Foley's former press secretary, wrote the narrative, but most pages have an indented paragraph or two of Foley's first-person recollections. Mansfield (author of an introduction here) shared more with Foley than Northwest roots and a reputation for focus and civility; both were internationalists with special interest in the Pacific Rim, and Foley succeeded Mansfield (and ex-VP Walter Mondale) as ambassador to Japan. --Mary Carroll

Library Journal Review

Foley, now U.S. ambassador to Japan, was elected in 1964 to Congress, where he rose to Speaker of the House before voters in his eastern Washington district turned him out of office in the Republican surge of 1994. Newt Gingrich was the next speaker, and this biography portrays Foley, in contrast to his successor, as a leader of moderation, fairness, and consensus during his long career. Biggs, Foley's former press secretary, has spliced Foley's reminiscences into his own narrative, based mainly on newspapers, magazines, and standard reference sources. The result is a peculiar blend that often reads like a scrapbook or a lengthy retrospective press release. Foley offers occasional anecdotes of interest about figures like Lyndon Johnson, but the book is much more focused on the institutional history of the House than on personalities. For regional or strong political science collections.√ĄRobert F. Nardini, North Chichester, NH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Mike Mansfield
Forewordp. xi
1 Western Rootsp. 1
2 Congress in the 1960sp. 21
3 The 1970s: Prelude to House Leadershipp. 47
4 In the Leadership: The Reagan Yearsp. 65
5 Majority Leaderp. 89
6 Into the Maelstrom: The Speakershipp. 105
7 A New Democratic Speaker with an Established Republican Presidentp. 133
8 War Without and War Withinp. 153
9 Congress on the Defensive: The "House Bank" and Other "Scandals"p. 171
10 The End of "Gridlock"p. 189
11 Unified Government: Looking for a Majorityp. 203
12 Legislating a Presidential Agendap. 221
13 Unseating a Speaker: The 1994 Reelection Racep. 243
14 What Lies Ahead, What's Left Behindp. 261
Epilogue: Return to Public Servicep. 275
Notesp. 291
Bibliographyp. 311
Acknowledgmentsp. 325
About the Authorsp. 327
Indexp. 328