WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today congratulating Congressman John Dingell for becoming the longest-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Today, we honor a man who has sat in this chamber for nearly a quarter of its existence: John Dingell of Michigan. In so many ways, the history of this House is the history of John and his family. His father helped create Social Security; John presided over the House as it passed Medicare; and in his time here, John has had his hand in everything from the Clean Air Act to the Endangered Species Act to the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
“John was here when we passed the Civil Rights Act. John was here when we put a man on the moon. He was here when the Berlin Wall and the Twin Towers fell. So much of our institutional memory is embodied in this one man, the longest-serving Member of the House in history—a walking, talking Library of Congress.
“One way to last this long is to keep your head down, to stay quiet and unobtrusive, to hope that no one notices you, year after year. But the other way is to make yourself so instrumental that your constituents, and this body, could hardly imagine life without you. Everyone here knows which path John Dingell took. For more than half a century—for 19,420 days—John came here, to this chamber, every day, asking what he could do to bring a little more security, a little more dignity, a little more prosperity to his constituents, to the people of Michigan, and to the people of this Nation. And he came here, to this chamber, every day, asking what he could do to advance the ideals he has held so tenaciously and defended so passionately. As Michael Barone wrote a few years ago, ‘Whether you agree or disagree, the social democratic tradition is one of the great traditions in our history, and John Dingell has fought for it for a very long time.’
“And he’s still fighting for it, and for the people who sent him to Washington. We know how much more John has to contribute to the life of this House and this Nation as he adds to his record every 24 hours, from here on out. But today, we draw a line in this long life of service; we stop the work of this House for a moment and pay our respect to a man who truly is, in the words of the Old Testament, ‘full of days and honor.’”