Foley, Thomas Stephen

Foley, Thomas Stephen,

1929–2013, U.S. congressman, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (1989–95), b. Spokane, Wash. A lawyer, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1964 and became a prominent liberal Democratic congressman. He was chairman of the House agriculture committee (1975–81), Democratic whip (1981–87), and majority leader (1987–89). When Speaker Jim WrightWright, Jim
(James Claud Wright, Jr.), 1922–2015, U.S. congressman, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (1987–89), b. Fort Worth, Tex. Following service in the U.S.
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 resigned in 1989, Foley succeeded him, and as Speaker he achieved a reputation for moderation and bipartisanship. After President Clinton's election, Foley played an important role in passing the 1993 budget plan, helped win House approval of a 1994 ban on assault weapons, and spearheaded the passage of the North American Free Trade AgreementNorth American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA), accord establishing a free-trade zone in North America; it was signed in 1992 by Canada, Mexico, and the United States and took effect on Jan. 1, 1994.
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. In 1992 his reputation was tarnished by revelations of irregularities in the operations of the House bank and post office, both controlled by the office of the Speaker. When Republicans won control of the House in 1994, Foley became the first sitting speaker since 1860 to fail to win reelection from his district. He served U.S. ambassador to Japan from 1997 to 2001.


See his biographical Honor in the House (with J. R. Biggs, 1999).

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