Out of the current 434 House members, 211 - nearly half - weren't born when Rep. John Dingell took office in December 1955. The Michigan Democrat is about to become the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history.
Roll Call reports that congressional leaders plan to honor Dingell, 86, for the longevity record. The celebration is set to take place June 13 in the Capitol's Statuary Hall. On June 7, Dingell will have served for 57 years, five months and 26 days, surpassing the service record of the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.).
Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), announced the plans to celebrate Dingell and noted more details would be made available closer to the event's date.
Dingell came to Congress during President Dwight Eisenhower's first term after winning a special election to succeed his father, John Dingell, Sr., who had served since 1933. The younger Rep. John Dingell still uses his father's office furniture and every session continues to introduce legislation to provide national health insurance.
Then-House Speaker Pelosi borrowed Dingell's gavel when the House passed the Democrats' health care bill in March 2010 - Obamacare - the same gavel Dingell used when he presided over the passage of Medicare in 1965.
For 16 years Dingell was chairman of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, from 1981 to 1995 and from 2007 to 2009. He grew his jurisdiction to the point that his committee handled up to 40 percent of all House bills.Over his more than half-century on Capitol Hill Dingell's voting record has generally been that of a liberal Democrat. Throughout his career he has been a leading congressional supporter of organized labor, social welfare measures and traditional progressive policies.
But Dingell's not easy to pigeon-hole ideologically. On some issues he reflects the conservative values of his largely Catholic and working-class suburban district, which stretches from Detroit's western suburbs to Ann Arbor. Dingell supported the Vietnam War until 1971.
And though he backed the Johnson Administration's civil rights bills, he opposed expanding school desegregation to Detroit suburbs via mandatory busing. He takes a fairly moderate position on abortion. He has worked to balance clean air legislation with the need to protect manufacturing jobs.
Politix, and via Roll Call.