|Barbara Levy Boxer|
3 January 1993
Serving with Dianne Feinstein
|Preceded by||Alan Cranston|
3 January 1983 – 3 January 1993
|Preceded by||Phillip Burton|
|Succeeded by||Lynn C. Woolsey|
Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
4 January 2007
|Preceded by||James Inhofe|
Chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics
4 January 2007
|Preceded by||George Voinovich|
|Born||November 11, 1940
Brooklyn, New York
|Alma mater||Brooklyn College|
|Website||Barbara Boxer: US Senator from California|
Barbara Levy Boxer (born November 11, 1940) is the junior United States Senator from California and a member of the Democratic Party. Boxer was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992, becoming one of the first of two female Jewish senators, along with Dianne Feinstein.
With the convening of the 110th Congress, Boxer became the first female chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee and, following the resignation of Sen. Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota) from the post, she was also chosen as chair of the Select Committee on Ethics. This made her the only senator to preside over two committees at the same time. She holds the record for the most popular votes in a statewide contested election in California, having received 6,955,728 votes in her 2004 re-election over former Republican Secretary of State Bill Jones.
She currently holds the position of Chief Deputy Whip of the Democratic Majority.
Boxer was born Barbara Levy in Brooklyn, New York to Jewish parents Sophie (née Silvershein; born in Austria) and Ira Levy. She attended public schools, and graduated from Wingate High School in 1958.
Boxer worked as a stockbroker for the next three years, while her husband went to law school. Later, the couple moved to Greenbrae, Marin County, California, and had two children, Doug and Nicole. She first ran for political office in 1972, when she challenged incumbent Peter Arrigoni, a member of the Marin County Board of Supervisors, but lost a close election. Later during the 1970s, Boxer worked as a journalist for the Pacific Sun and as an aide to John Burton, then a member of Congress. In 1976, Boxer was elected to the Marin County Board of Supervisors, serving for six years. During this time she served as the first woman president of the board.
Boxer's husband, Stewart, is a prominent attorney in Oakland, who specializes in worker's compensation cases (on the side of injured workers) and is known for keeping a very low profile when it comes to politics. Many cases are referred to him by labor unions, including the Teamsters. In 2006, the Boxers sold their house in Greenbrae, where they had lived for many years, and moved to Oakland, near Stewart's office. Their son, Douglas, a lawyer, practices with Stewart and is a member of the Oakland Planning Commission, having been appointed to that office by then-mayor Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown, Jr.
According to one story, which Boxer has acknowledged, in 1972, Stewart had planned to run for the Marin County Board of Supervisors, but decided the campaign would interfere with his law practice in Oakland, so Barbara ran instead. She was supported in that election by Marin Alternative, a broad-based, liberal political organization which she had helped found a few years before. A very active force in Marin County politics for a while, Marin Alternative dissolved in the late 1970s.
Boxer's first novel, A Time to Run, published in 2005 by San Francisco-based publishing company Chronicle Books, was released to a mixed reception. Her second novel Blind Trust was released in July 2009 by Chronicle Books.
Boxer was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1982, defeating Dennis McQuaid. Her slogan was "Barbara Boxer Gives a Damn." In the House, she represented California District 6 (Marin and Sonoma Counties) for five terms.
During this time she focused on human rights, environmental protection, military procurement reform, and abortion issues, from a pro-choice stance. She was also involved in seeking protection for whistleblowers in government and pushed for higher budget allocations for health, biomedical research, and education.
Boxer, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, exposed, with the help of the Project on Military Procurement (now Project On Government Oversight, known as POGO), the '$7,600 Pentagon coffee pot' and successfully passed more than a dozen procurement reforms.
Boxer was embarrassed by the House banking scandal, in which more than 450 Congressional representatives and aides, herself included, wrote overdraft checks covered by overdraft protection by the House Bank. In response, she issued a statement saying "in painful retrospect, I clearly should have paid more attention to my account" and wrote a $15 check to the Deficit Reduction Fund for each of her 87 overdrafts.
In 1991, during the Anita Hill Senate hearings, where Hill accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, Boxer led a group of women House members to the Senate Judiciary Committee – demanding that the all-white, all-male Committee of Senators take Hill's charges seriously. This helped propel Boxer's candidacy for the U.S. Senate in 1992, when a record number of women ran for the U.S. Senate.
Senator Boxer's predecessor, Democrat Alan Cranston, retired in 1992. She won the open seat contest in the US Senate elections that year. She defeated Bruce Herschensohn, a conservative television political commentator, by 4.9 percentage points after a last-minute revelation that Herschensohn had attended a strip club. In 1998, she was re-elected for a second term, beating Matt Fong, a former state treasurer, by 10 percentage points. She had decided to retire in 2004 but says she decided to run to "fight for the right to dissent" against conservatives like Tom DeLay. After facing no primary opposition in the 2004 election, Boxer defeated GOP candidate Bill Jones, a former California Secretary of State, by a margin of 20 percentage points.
A September 2009 poll places her approval rating at 41% and her disapproval rating at 48%. A March 2009 field poll found voters about evenly divided on Boxer's re-election, with 43% inclined to support her and 44% leaning against.
A member of the Senate Democratic Leadership, Boxer serves as the Democratic Chief Deputy Whip, which gives her the job of lining up votes on key legislation. She also serves on the Democratic Policy Committee's Committee on Oversight and Investigations.
On January 6, 2005, Boxer joined Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio in filing a U.S. congressional objection to the certification of Ohio's Electoral College votes in the 2004 U.S. presidential election. She called the objection her "opening shot to be able to focus the light of truth on these terrible problems in the electoral system". The Senate voted the objection down 1–74; the House voted the objection down 31–267. It was only the second Congressional objection to an entire State's electoral delegation in U.S. history; the first instance was in 1877.
As a gesture of appreciation and support for her stance on the alleged Presidential election irregularities and Condoleezza Rice's confirmation hearings, Stacy Davies of California began, via e-mail, the "Barbara Boxer Rose Campaign", wherein people collaborated to buy Senator Boxer roses.
As a superdelegate, Boxer had declared that she would support the winner of the California Democratic primary, 2008 contest, which was won by Hillary Clinton. However, she remained neutral and only officially backed Barack Obama's candidacy the day after the last primaries, once he had garnered enough delegate votes to clinch the nomination. 
On 19 February 2007, Boxer announced that she will seek a fourth term in 2010. "You can't wait until the last minute", she said. She estimates that she will need $20 million for the campaign. The announcement was made at a fundraiser hosted by Barack Obama. It is unlikely that she will face a major challenger in the Democratic primary. Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has filed and begun campaigning for the June 2010 Republican primary, along with California State Assembly Member Chuck DeVore. On January 13th, Former Congressman Tom Campbell also announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination.
Senator Boxer is part of a coalition to increase medical research to find cures for diseases. In 2007, she authored successful bipartisan legislation with Senator Gordon Smith to combat HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis globally. She authored a Patients' Bill of Rights in 1997. She has written a bill to make health insurance tax deductible and another bill to let any American buy into the same health insurance program that members of Congress have. She supports comprehensive prescription drug coverage through Medicare and the right of all consumers to purchase lower-cost prescription drugs re-imported from Canada.
In October 2002, Boxer urged the Bush Administration to take specific steps to address the causes of the steep increase in autism cases in California. She wrote Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson to establish a common national standard for the diagnosis of autism; instruct the CDC and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to convene a task force to review the current literature on autism and conduct its own study if necessary; and direct the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to work with the states to create a national chronic disease database.
Boxer voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Boxer introduced legislation providing Federal funding for local after-school programs, which have been shown to increase student performance while decreasing juvenile delinquency, crime, and drug use. Her 'Computers in Classrooms' law encourages the donation of computers and software to schools.
Boxer supported the No Child Left Behind Act. Since its passage in 2001, she claims that the bill has been underfunded by billions of dollars. She vows to work towards a goal that assures it will be fully funded going forward, as originally pledged by former President George W. Bush.
Boxer has voted to increase the maximum award for the Pell Grant program, which provides grants to lower income students for college. In addition, she has supported tax benefits that she claims will help more families pay for higher education.
Boxer has co-introduced legislation that she claims is designed to allow college graduates to refinance their student loans at market rate, in order to ease the financial burden on those starting their careers.
Boxer established the Excellence in Education award to recognize teachers, parents, businesses and organizations that are working to make positive changes in education. Since 1997 Senator Boxer has presented the Excellence in Education Award to 38 recipients.
Senators Boxer and John Ensign (R-NV) are the authors of the Invest in the USA Act. This legislation, which was signed into law in October 2004 as a small part of the more comprehensive American Jobs Creation Act, is intended to encourage American companies to bring overseas profits back to the United States, to create jobs in the U.S., and stimulate domestic economic growth.
In March 2004, Boxer offered an amendment to the Federal budget to create a $24 billion jobs reserve fund. The amendment would set aside funds for a variety of investments to improve the economy and create jobs by establishing a manufacturing jobs tax credit for companies that create jobs in the United States, expanding investment in science research and development, providing a tax credit to small businesses to pay for health insurance for their employees, and expanding trade adjustment assistance to help those who lose their jobs because of foreign trade. The Boxer amendment would also end the tax break that companies receive after moving plants overseas.
Boxer has introduced the National Oceans Protection Act (NOPA) of 2005. Some of the provisions of this act are: strengthen ocean governance; protect and restore marine wildlife and habitats; address ocean pollution; improve fisheries management. The bill also addresses needs regarding marine science, research and technology, marine mammals, coastal development, and invasive species.
Boxer is an original cosponsor of Senator Jim Jeffords’ (I-VT) Clean Power Act. This legislation would reduce emissions of three pollutants coming from power plants; sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury, and also reduce emissions of carbon dioxide .
As the new head of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in January 2007, Boxer wants to reduce energy consumption. She is attempting to curb global warming by leading pilot programs. The few things that she and some of her fellow Senators are doing could cut electricity consumption by as much as 50 percent in their Capitol Hill offices.
Senator Boxer was the Senate sponsor of the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act, which was signed in to law by President George W. Bush on October 17, 2006. The bill protected 275,830 acres (1,116 km2) of federal land as wilderness and 21 miles (34 km) of stream as a wild and scenic river, including such popular areas as the King Range and Cache Creek. Senator Boxer worked with Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Mike Thompson (the bill's House sponsor) in the five-year effort to pass the legislation.
Boxer along with her colleague Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of subsidy payments to conventional commodity farm producers at the cost of subsidies for conservation-oriented farming.
Boxer is an original cosponsor of the Title X Family Planning Services Act of 2005, S.844, by Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY). This legislation aims to improve access to women's health care. It authorizes funding for family planning services grants; allows states to provide such services to individuals who may not be eligible for Medicaid; prohibits health insurance providers from excluding contraceptive services, drugs or devices from benefits; establishes a program to disseminate information on emergency contraception; requires hospitals receiving federal funding to offer emergency contraception to victims of sexual assault; provides grants to public and private entities to establish or expand teen pregnancy prevention programs; and requires that federally funded education programs about contraception be medically accurate and include information about health benefits and failure rates.
As a member of the House of Representatives, Boxer authored the original Violence Against Women Act. Later in 1994, she cosponsored, and the Senate passed, the Violence Against Women Act, which provided reforms to the criminal justice system to better prosecute violent crimes against women, and provided Federal funding to local law enforcement agencies for training and equipment necessary for prosecution. Boxer has also authored the Violence Against Children Act, based on the successful VAWA. (Boxer has been a consistent advocate of the death penalty until recently. In 2006, she introduced a bill calling for a moratorium on the death penalty.)
Boxer supports the current system of Social Security, and opposed President George W. Bush's plan for partial privatization of Social Security. She introduced the 401(k) Pension Protection Act to protect retirement by requiring the diversification of 401(k) plans. A modified version of the bill was signed into law as part of the 1997 tax bill.
Following the Enron scandal, Boxer again worked to ensure that retirement plans are diversified. She also introduced a bill to prohibit accounting firms from auditing and consulting for the same company.
After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Boxer authored a bill to protect commercial airliners against attacks by shoulder-fired missiles, and wrote the law allowing airline pilots with special training to carry guns in the cockpit.
Boxer wrote the High-Tech Port Security Act, and sponsored the Chemical Security Act to address terrorist threats against chemical plants. Senator Boxer also cosponsored comprehensive rail security legislation.
In October 2002, Boxer voted against the joint resolution passed by the U.S. Congress to authorize the use of military force by the Bush Administration against Iraq. In June 2005, Senators Boxer and Russ Feingold (D-WI) cosponsored Senate Resolution 171 calling for a timeframe for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.
Boxer's petition demanding an exit strategy from Iraq drew 107,218 signatures.
In June 2008 Boxer spoke in the Senate in opposition to the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, a pending bill in the United States Congress to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and later broke with her counterpart Sen. Dianne Feinstein and voted against it.
On February 18, 2005 Senators Boxer, Hillary Clinton, and Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones introduced the Count Every Vote Act of 2005, which would provide a voter verified paper ballot for every vote cast in electronic voting machines and ensure access to voter verification for all citizens. The bill mandates that this ballot be the official ballot for purposes of a recount. The bill sets a uniform standard for provisional ballots and requires the Federal Election Assistance Commission to issue standards that ensure uniform access to voting machines and trained election personnel in every community. The bill also mandated improved security measures for electronic voting machines. The bill did not pass.
During the confirmation hearings for the United States Secretary of State nominee Condoleezza Rice in January 2005, Boxer challenged her to admit to alleged mistakes and false statements made by the Bush Administration in leading the United States into the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and ultimately voted against confirmation, along with twelve other senators. The dissent was the highest vote against a Secretary of State nominee since 1825 when Henry Clay was so named.
Boxer voted against John Bolton's nomination for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and filibustered him on the Senate floor. As a result of the strong Democratic opposition Bolton could not obtain Senate approval. However, President Bush bypassed the Senate by employing the constitutional right of recess appointment, only the second time such an appointment has been used for a United States ambassador to the United Nations since the UN's founding in 1945. Recess appointments themselves have been used numerous times by various presidents.
In 2002, Senator Boxer voted against the U.S. invasion of Iraq. She has subsequently referred to that vote as the best vote of her career. She also voted against the first Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm) while a member of the House in 1991 and was a very vocal protester against the Vietnam War in the 1970s.
Along with former Republican Senator George Allen (R-VA), Boxer authored the Jumpstart Broadband Act. This bill would make more spectrum available for use by devices that incorporate new broadband technology, such as WiFi. The Federal Communications Commission is now implementing the Boxer-Allen bill.
Boxer opposes access and sales taxes on the Internet, co-authoring a bill with Republican Sen. George Allen in 2001 to extend the Internet tax moratorium for five years.
The Human Rights Campaign gave Boxer ratings of 100%, 88% and 100% for the 107th, 108th, and 109th sessions of Congress, respectively, indicating a support of the HRC's slate of pro-gay legislative issues. In 1996, she was one of fourteen Senators to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act and also voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004 and 2006, although when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom issued a directive to the city-county clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples she stated that she supported California's domestic partnership law but agreed with its definition that marriage was between a man and a woman. However, her 2010 re-election campaign website states that "Senator Boxer supports marriage equality."
She has also co-sponsored the Matthew Shepard Act, which expanded the federal definition of hate crimes to include crimes based on the victim's sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as the Uniting American Families Act. She opposed Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that prohibited same-sex marriage in California. Proposition 8 passed with a 52.30% to 47.70% majority.
Boxer is one of the most outspoken critics of the nuclear energy deal between the United States and India. Boxer is of the opinion that India should not get help from the U.S. in the civilian nuclear energy sector until it breaks its relationship with Iran.
The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, formerly the Federated Coast Miwok, was officially recognized by the U.S. government on December 27, 2000, pursuant to an act of Congress. California 6th District Representative Lynn Woolsey introduced the Graton Rancheria Restoration Act (105th CONGRESS, 2d Session, H.R. 4434) 6 August 1998. It was ultimately approved and signed by President Clinton as Title XIV of the Omnibus Indian Advancement Act (Public Law No. 106-568).
Representative Woolsey's original bill (H.R. 4434, later H.R. 946) would not have permitted the FIGR to have a casino. Senator Boxer removed that prohibition when she included Woolsey's bill in the Omnibus Act.
Senator Boxer is a major supporter of fellow Democrats running for office. Boxer’s PAC for a Change, an ActBlue-active PAC, is a progressive organization that advocated for basic human rights, economic justice, and social justice, and supports candidates who share those values.
Boxer criticized then United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's judgment in relation to the war in Iraq: "I personally believe – this is my personal view – that your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell the war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth."
In January 2007, Boxer was in the news for comments she made when responding to Bush's plans to send an additional 20,000 troops to Iraq. "Who pays the price?" Boxer asked Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. "I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a personal price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families... not me, not you." When Rice interjected, Boxer responded by saying, "Madam Secretary, please. I know you feel terrible about it. That's not the point. I was making the case as to who pays the price for your decisions. And the fact that this administration would move forward with this escalation with no clue as to the further price that we're going to pay militarily... I find really appalling."
The New York Post and White House Press Secretary Tony Snow considered this an attack on Rice's status as a single, childless female and referred to Boxer's comments as "a great leap backward for feminism." Rice later echoed Snow's remarks, saying "I thought it was okay to not have children, and I thought you could still make good decisions on behalf of the country if you were single and didn’t have children." Boxer responded to the controversy by saying "They’re getting this off on a non-existent thing that I didn’t say. I’m saying, she’s like me, we do not have families who are in the military."
Keith Olbermann accused the commentators, particularly Rush Limbaugh, of making Boxer's comments into an issue when the same people were not outraged when "Laura Bush said Secretary Rice would never be elected president because she was not married."
She has made cameo appearances as herself in several television shows, including Murphy Brown (1994), Gilmore Girls (2002) and Curb Your Enthusiasm (2007), as well as a cameo (as herself) in the 2000 film Traffic.
Boxer has been honored in Congress by:
Boxer has been recognized as a champion of human rights by:
|Office||Branch||Location||Elected||Term began||Term ended|
|Representative||Legislative||Washington, D.C.||1982||3 January 1983||3 January 1985|
|Representative||Legislative||Washington, D.C.||1984||3 January 1985||3 January 1987|
|Representative||Legislative||Washington, D.C.||1986||3 January 1987||3 January 1989|
|Representative||Legislative||Washington, D.C.||1988||3 January 1989||3 January 1991|
|Representative||Legislative||Washington, D.C.||1990||3 January 1991||3 January 1993|
|Senator||Legislative||Washington, D.C.||1992||3 January 1993||3 January 1999|
|Senator||Legislative||Washington, D.C.||1998||3 January 1999||3 January 2005|
|Senator||Legislative||Washington, D.C.||2004||3 January 2005||3 January 2011|
|United States Congressional service|
|1983–1985||98th||U.S. House||Democratic||Ronald Reagan||Armed Services||District 6|
|1985–1987||99th||U.S. House||Democratic||Ronald Reagan||Armed Services||District 6|
|1987–1989||100th||U.S. House||Democratic||Ronald Reagan||Armed Services||District 6|
|1989–1991||101st||U.S. House||Democratic||George H. W. Bush||Armed Services||District 6|
|1991–1993||102nd||U.S. House||Democratic||George H. W. Bush||Armed Services||District 6|
|1993–1995||103rd||U.S. Senate||Democratic||Bill Clinton||Commerce, Environment, Foreign Relations||Class 3|
|1995–1997||104th||U.S. Senate||Republican||Bill Clinton||Commerce, Environment, Foreign Relations||Class 3|
|1997–1999||105th||U.S. Senate||Republican||Bill Clinton||Commerce, Environment, Foreign Relations||Class 3|
|1999–2001||106th||U.S. Senate||Republican||Bill Clinton||Commerce, Environment, Foreign Relations||Class 3|
|2001–2003||107th||U.S. Senate||Republican||George W. Bush||Commerce, Environment, Foreign Relations||Class 3|
|2003–2005||108th||U.S. Senate||Republican||George W. Bush||Commerce, Environment, Foreign Relations||Class 3|
|2005–2007||109th||U.S. Senate||Republican||George W. Bush||Commerce, Environment, Foreign Relations||Class 3|
|2007–2009||110th||U.S. Senate||Democratic||George W. Bush||Commerce, Environment (chair), Foreign Relations||Class 3|
|2009-Present||111th||U.S. Senate||Democratic||Barack Obama||Commerce, Environment (chair), Foreign Relations||Class 3|
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 6th congressional district
1983 – 1993
Lynn C. Woolsey
|United States Senate|
|United States Senator (Class 3) from California
1993 – present
Served alongside: Dianne Feinstein
|Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
2007 – present
|Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee
2007 – present
|Party political offices|
|Chief Senate Democratic Deputy Whip
2005 – present
|United States order of precedence|
|United States Senators by seniority
Barbara Levy Boxer (born November 11, 1940) is an American politician and the current junior United States Senator from California.