Ex-Democratic lawmaker Tom Foley, who represented the state of Washington in Congress for 30 years and was speaker of the House of Representatives from 1989 to 1995, died at his home in this capital, his wife said. He was 84.
Foley died Friday at his home in Washington D.C. from complications from pneumonia and an attack he suffered last December.
Elected for the first time in 1964 to the House of Representatives, he was speaker of that body between 1989 and January 1995, during which time he helped pass the budget of then-President Bill Clinton that included a tax hike and a ban on assault weapons that remained in effect until 2004.
His career in Congress ended in late 1994 with the so-called "Republican revolution," when conservatives regained control of the lower house.
Bill Clinton appointed him U.S. ambassador to Japan, a post he occupied between 1997 and 2001.
"Today, America has lost a legend of the United States Congress," U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday in a statement.
Foley represented citizens in his district of Washington state "with skill, dedication, and a deep commitment to improving the lives of those he was elected to serve," Obama said while sending his condolences to the wife of the ex-congressman, Heather, and to the rest of his family.
Another U.S. congressman who died on Friday was Bill Young of Florida, the longest-serving Republican in the lower house. He was 82.
"The cause of death was complications related to a chronic injury," his spokesman Harry Glenn said in a communique.
Just a week ago, Young had announced his intention to retire and not seek reelection in 2014. EFE