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Longest-serving Congress member John Dingell dies at 92

10 February 2019, 06:42 | Randall Craig

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Dingell was a champion of the auto industry and was credited with increasing access to health care, among other accomplishments.

Although he helped author the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, which created the U.S.'s first corporate average fuel economy standards in the wake of the 1973 OPEC oil embargo, Dingell often clashed with his own party and environmentalists over raising the standards because he said it could hurt the US economy.

Rep. John Dingell was seated next to President Barack Obama when he signed the Affordable Care Act into law at the White House on March 23, 2010. "I remember he said shooting a rifle is a lot like legislating", former Ohio Rep. Dennis Eckhart told The Associated Press in 2009.

Dingell announced in 2014 he would retire from the House after representing Michigan's 12th District for almost 60 years, surpassing Sen. Unable to sway a handful of Democrats who opposed mandating universal coverage - and unwilling to compromise on that point - Dingell notified the House speaker, Thomas Foley, that he couldn't muster the votes to produce legislation. At Georgetown University, he earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1949 and a law degree three years later.

Dingell Jr. died at the age 92. The Detroit News reported members of Congress remembered the Democrat on the House floor.




In 1993, during the effort by President Bill Clinton to pass major health reform, as the heads of the three main committees that oversee health issues argued over which would lead the effort, Dingell famously proclaimed of his panel, "We have health". When Dingell announced his retirement, his wife, Representative Debbie Dingell, successfully ran for his seat.

Dingell was first elected in 1955, to fill the House seat vacated by his late father.

Explaining his decision to retire in 2015, he said back then: "I don't want people to be sorry for me".

For his service, Dingell received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's greatest civilian award, by President Barack Obama on November 24, 2014. He was hospitalized, but was soon "cracking jokes as usual", his wife said at the time. Forewords were written by former President George H.W. Bush, who had died only a few days before its publication, and former Vice President Joe Biden.

In 1986, Dingell summoned Deaver, Reagan's former deputy chief of staff, to testify on whether he had used his connections to the president to help build his lobbying business.

Michigan Democrat was a legislative icon.



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