On January 2, 2001, Bill Archer retired from the United States House of Representatives after a 40-year career of service to his nation in local, state, and federal government. While he will be remembered in part for his many legislative accomplishments, Archer's reputation as a responsible, committed leader of the highest ethical standards leaves an enduring image of this Texas son.
Congressman Archer has served the 7th District of Texas since 1971 when he won the seat previously held by former President George Bush, who remained one of Archer's constituents.
In January 1995, at the start of the 104th Congress, Archer became Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, a goal he had long sought to enable him to be the nation's leader on taxes. He has modeled his leadership after the late Wilbur Mills, restoring the Committee's tradition of bipartisan lawmaking and frugal internal budget keeping.
On the eve of the 104th Congress, the Houston Chronicle wrote, "the prospect of having Representative Archer (as Chairman) bodes well for Houston and the nation. While Houston cannot expect "a windfall of pork or special tax breaks," wrote The Chronicle, "even more valuable to the nation than Archer's sound political instincts is his unsullied reputation for principled representation."
Among his many accomplishments in the House of Representatives, Congressman Archer was a key player to get the 1997 balanced budget with tax relief signed into law. Scheduled to be balanced by 2002, this is the first balanced federal budget since 1969. Archer's initiatives of easing the death tax, expanding IRA's, and providing a $500 per child tax credit for middle-income Americans are now law. He helped extend the life of Medicare for another ten years, and during the 104th Congress, he steered welfare and health care reform into law. He has worked tirelessly to reduce the fraud in Medicare, continue to stuffy the long term preservation of Medicare and Social Security, and pursue the expansion of free trade.
Upon entering Congress in 1971, one of Archer's first acts was to create a student intern program for high school students from his district. The 30-year success of this program and the many lives it has touched, along with the interest in public service it has inspired, is a model for the UT in D.C. Fellowship Program that will benefit students, alumni, and faculty from his alma mater.
Congressman Archer received his BBA and LLB degrees with honors at The University of Texas at Austin. During his undergraduate and graduate studies in Austin (from 1946 to 1951), he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Social Fraternity, Phi Delta Legal Fraternity, the Varsity Tennis team, and was the Champion Intramural Athlete in 1951. One of his most meaningful and significant accomplishments was to receive UT's Distinguished Alumnus Awards in 1981.
Congressman Archer is married to the former Sharon Sawyer. He has five children: Rick, Reyn, Sharon, Barbara, and Lisa; two stepsons, Scott and Shannon; and 17 grandchildren.