Dingell's Drive in Five Decades of Progress
Created by john_dingell on May 24, 2010
Last updated: 11/19/10 at 07:20 PM
In a ‘robust speech’ to his House Democratic colleagues, Congressman Dingell calls for Members to keep fighting for health care reform, even as Members face pressure from well-organized opponents. His speech is widely reported as rallying cry for Democrats. He told Talking Points Memo: "All I did was to remind the members that the Republicans are out there to beat us by seeing to it that we accomplish nothing during this Congress especially on health care. It's exactly the same tactic, the same strategy they used in 1993. And I reminded them that that tactic took control of the House from us, because, one of the principal reasons was, we were not able to pass a health insurance bill."
The Department of Energy awards more than $1 billion to Michigan companies for the purpose of making our nation the world leader in advanced battery and electric vehicle technology. Vice President Biden announced the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants would go to 20 Michigan projects involving research and development of batteries and vehicles designed for the 21st Century. This comes after a May request from Congressman Dingell and the Michigan Congressional Delegation asking Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to establish “a North American battery center of gravity in Michigan will significantly improve the federal government's ability to more swiftly meet its ambitious vehicle electrification goals, and will pay dividends across the industrial Midwest through development of a strong supply chain.” Congressman Dingell, a tenured advocate for innovative clean technology, praised Governor Granholm and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for the rewards of their labors. “Today’s grant announcements are wonderful news for the State of Michigan,” Dingell said. “We’ve always had the people and the resources needed to become the world’s leader in advanced battery storage and technology. The State possesses the nation’s 4th-largest high-tech workforce and boasts the country’s 3rd-highest engineering graduate population. With this investment from the White House as well as our State, these facilities will go from a vision to reality. Michigan has provided manufacturers with research and development grants, as well as made heavy investments in workforce development. Governor Granholm and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation are to be commended for their fore-thought and hard work.” Among these projects is the A123 Systems, a company with plans to open advanced battery plants in Michigan, including in Romulus, which is in Congressman Dingell’s district. A123 Systems also has offices in Ann Arbor. “I’m very pleased to see that A123 Systems, a company with a strong history in Ann Arbor, will receive today a federal grant to further its work in advanced battery development at locations in Romulus and Brownstown. In view of other countries’ efforts to assist their domestic manufacturers, I feel it imperative that we do the same in the United States. A123 will play a key role in Michigan’s transformation into a high-tech economic powerhouse, and I would hope that today’s grant announcement is the first of many for this company.”
Congressman Dingell becomes the longest-serving Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, passing Jamie Whitten (D-MS).
Dingell becomes the longest serving Member of the House of all time. He passed Rep. Jamie Whitten.
Dingell has surgery to replace his left knee.
President Bush signs H.R. 6, The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, into law. As part of his goal to reduce emissions between 60 and 80 percent by 2050, Chairman Dingell led the Energy and Commerce Committee to pass H.R. 6. The law aims to remove more than 8.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the annual emissions of all cars on the road in the U.S. today. The law establishes new standards for advanced and cellulosic biofuel as well as biomass-based diesel.
Dingell becomes the second longest-serving member of the House. He passed Rep. Carl Vinson.
Dingell marks his 50th anniversary as a member of the US House of Representatives.
Dingell becomes the third longest member of the House. He passed Rep. Emanuel Celler.
Dingell introduces legislation that would remove FEMA from the Department of Homeland Security.After Hurricane Katrina ripped through about 90,000 square miles along America's Gulf Coast, Dingell speaks out on FEMA's slow response to the storm and the performance of FEMA Director Michael Brown. Dingell tells CNN: "Mr. Brown was regrettably an administrator or officer or the head of an Arabian Horse Association, hardly qualifying him to address the kind of problems he's looking at now." Brown would later resign from his job with FEMA. (Dingell Press Release, 9/4/05; CNN Newsnight Transcript, 9/10.05)
Dingell takes a leading role pushing for two issues to defend US industry. He joins Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) as an original co-sponsor of the US Worker Protection Act that would prevent US taxpayer dollars from being used to outsource jobs to other countries. He also re-introduced the Currency Manipulation Prevention Act which would crackdown on the unfair manipulation of foreign currency, a practice that keeps the prices of foreign made goods low in the US market, raises the cost of US made goods overseas, and puts US manufacturers at a severe strategic disadvantage, both at home and abroad.
Dingell selected as the 2005 recipient of the Helen and William Milliken Distinguished Service Award by the Michigan Environmental Council. It is Michigan's highest environmental honor. He is chosen because of his long record of environmental accomplishments. (http://www.mecprotects.org/MER/APR05/mecmarks25th.htm)
Dingell is elected to his 26th term in Congress with 70.9% of the vote. He defeated Dawn Reamer 218,409 - 81,828.Bush defeats Kerry in the presidential election.
Dingell becomes the fourth longest serving Member of the House. He passed former Speaker Sam Rayburn. (CRS)
Humbug Marsh is added to the Detroit International Wildlife Refuge, which expands the refuge by 409 acres. Dingell says: "A major part of what we hoped to do with the refuge becomes much more possible with the acquisition of the Humbug Marsh. This property will be a centerpiece of what I believe will become the jewel of Michigan's majestic coastline. We can do wondrous things for species that depend on the Humbug Marsh for habitat. Humbug Marsh, and the Refuge in general, will provide the people of Southeast Michigan with a place to recreate, relax and enjoy the outdoors." Humbug Marsh is the last undisturbed coastal marsh on the Detroit River. It is a breeding ground for birds and a stop for some 300,000 diving ducks on their fall migration from Canada to the east and south every year. (PR, 6/10/04)
Detroit News names Dingell a "Michiganian of the Year," saying: "John D. Dingell, a Democrat from Dearborn and Dean of the U.S. House of Representatives, is best known as a canny and effective champion of issues important to his home state: the auto industry, labor, energy, the environment, issues affecting seniors and others." (Detroit News, 5/9/04)In December, Dingell is chosen Newsmaker of the Year by the staff of WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit. (WXYZ, Spotlight on the News, 12/26/04)
Dingell, with Senators Levin and Stabenow, works with American Postal Workers Union to help save a Postal Service contract facility in Brownstown from being moved out of state, thus saving 160 jobs in Brownstown, Michigan. Dingell wrote a "Dingell-gram" to Postmaster General Potter asking many detailed questions that when answered, ultimately proved that keeping the Brownstown facility open was more cost effective. RCI employees came by the office personally to thank Dingell and many credited him with saving their jobs.
The Do Not Call legislation goes into effect. Dingell and Republican Billy Tauzin passed the law reaffirming the right of the FTC to create and enforce a directory of consumers who do not want to receive annoying calls from telemarketers. Earlier in the year, they passed legislation providing the funding to allow the FTC to implement the registry.
US Supreme Court decides University of Michigan affirmative action case that upheld the constitutionality of using diversity as a factor in higher education admissions. Dingell hailed the decision saying, "Today is an historic victory for all Americans. The high court's ruling will ensure that the doors to the great universities of this nation are open to all Americans, regardless of race, creed or color. I agree with the views of the former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf: diversity, equality and access to opportunity are vital to our national security, and to the cohesion and character of America's military and our society as a whole. The court correctly ruled that diversity is a compelling governmental interest. Anyone who has attended U of M, or who is familiar with the University, knows that its diverse student body has made it a stronger institution. The on-campus diversity is one of the reasons Michigan is a world class university, and what makes it such a special place to live and learn." (PR, 6.23.03) Dingell had urged President Bush to side with the University of Michigan instead of opposing affirmative action and criticized him when he chose the opposite course. Dingell also wrote to affirmative action opponent (and Californian) Ward Connerly who had inserted himself in the matter. Dingell said: "The people of Michigan have a simple message to you: go home and stay there. We do not need you stirring up trouble where none exists. Michiganders do not take kindly to your ignorant meddling in our affairs. We have no need for itinerant publicity seekers, non-resident troublemakers or self-aggrandizing out-of-state agitators. You have created enough mischief in your own state to last a lifetime. We reject your "black vs. white" politics that were long ago discarded to the ash heap of history. Your brand of divisive racial politics has no place in Michigan, or in our society. So Mr. Connerly, take your message of hate and fear, division and destruction and leave. Go home and stay there, you're not welcome here."
John Dingell's singular focus on protecting children and the environment from the dangers of unsafe pipelines leads to the enactment of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002 that represents a great step forward in improving pipeline safety, requiring companies for the first time to inspect their pipelines on a regular basis, ensuring certification of pipeline safety workers, increasing fines for violations, including for the first time strong protection for workers who blow the whistle on pipeline safety violations, and grants to communities to hire independent pipeline safety experts so they can know the facts about unsafe pipelines in their communities. (HR 3609, signed into law Dec. 17, 2002)This effort builds on Dingell's previous work on the issue. He was instrumental in many of the major improvements in safety in 1978, 1979, 1988 and 1992. In 1996, he led the fight against enactment of legislation to roll back stringent pipeline safety and inspection standards, warning of grave consequences of the law's ultimate enactment. In 1999 and 2000, after his worst fears became reality when numerous children died in pipeline explosions in Bellingham, Washington, and Carlsbad, New Mexico, Dingell worked with GAO on a report that exposed the weakness of the Office of Pipeline Safety and successfully killed legislation that would have made only cosmetic changes to the already weak law.
John D. Dingell Bridge in Monroe County is completed and named after Dingell on Dixie Highway as a way of honoring Dingell's work on the Rail Consolidation project. (Toledo Blade, 8.22.05)
Dingell announces his opposition to the War in Iraq. "The President has chosen the wrong course and he has given the Congress a request for a blank check," Dingell said. "Proceeding without allies, without bases, without proper and adequate logistical support is an act of great folly. It poses enormous risks to the troops that we would be sending, and it poses enormous risk to this country and to our foreign policy." (PR, 10/16/02)
Dingell defeats Rivers in the Democratic Primary 59% to 41%. (AP, 8/7/02)
Michigan's Republican-controlled Legislature redraws the district boundaries to throw Dingell into the same district as another sitting Democratic member of the House after Michigan lost a seat in Congress following the 2000 Census. This decision would pit Dingell against then-13th District Congresswoman Lynn Rivers.
Metro Airport access road is named for Dingell, due to his strong support for the airport in Washington and because he is a key player in obtaining federal funding for the airport's capital improvement program. Dingell said: "I'm honored and grateful for this recognition...The recent improvements at Detroit Metro will make it a world class airport with the new road giving travelers faster and less congested access to the airport's state-of-the-art facilities. This road is critical to future job creation and economic growth in our area, and that's why I fought for this project." Wayne County Executive Edward McNamara said Dingell "shared our vision of transforming Metro Airport into the world class facility this community deserves. For more than a decade, he has been a strong voice and advocate in our nation's capital, and instrumental in making our plans and dreams a reality. More specifically, Congressman Dingell helped secure more than $50 million in federal funds for the construction of this road, understanding how critical it is to the entire airport development plan. It's absolutely fitting that this road to our future should carry his name."
International Wildlife Refuge is signed into law. Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge Establishment Act, legislation created an International Wildlife Refuge along the Detroit River, an 18-mile refuge will stretch from Zug Island in Detroit to Sterling State Park in Monroe, and will be managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service for public recreation, wildlife observation, hunting and fishing. It is the first-ever International refuge in the United States. (Dingell Press Release, 12/21/01)
Dingell votes against the Patriot Act. He is one of 66 Members to do so. In his floor statement, Dingell says: "Mr. Speaker, we are considering under a very strange rule a very strange process which has resulted in a bill which is quite different than reported by the committee. What we are doing today is not considering just a few simple questions like expenditures of money. We are dealing today with basic constitutional rights. Ordinarily these are matters of the highest importance and are considered with great care under a rule, in an open process, because, after all, these are the things upon which Americans rely for their personal security and for their understanding that their rights are protected."All of a sudden sometime, probably last night, the Attorney General snuck up here to have a meeting. The result is that the bill suffered some extraordinary changes, all of which deal with the basic, fundamental rights of Americans in ways very different and probably much more unfavorably than did the committee bill. "This is not the way. The United States is not so threatened that we have to throw away our rights without careful consideration, and that we have to disregard the careful and thoughtful and fine work done by the chairman, the committee, and by my distinguished friend, the ranking minority member. "I find this a distressing process, one which reflects very poorly on the House - and one which indicates a great distrust and dislike for the work of the committee, which was superb - and for the basic fundamental liberties of the people of the United States. "I find it denigrating basic constitutional rights, and I find it to have been done in a sneaky, dishonest fashion. It reflects very poorly on this body."
Dingell votes to authorize use of force against Afghanistan. In the wake of the terrorist attacks, Dingell joined a nearly unanimous congressional passage of a resolution that would "authorize the president to use all necessary and appropriate force against the nations, organization or people that he determines planned authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11th." (Vote #342, Passed 420-1, 9/14/01, Dingell: Y, CQ Almanac p. H-118)
Terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon on 9/11. Dingell calls for the country to unite and warns against civil liberties violations following the tragedy. "As we mourn and grieve for loved ones, and grieve for our country, I promise you, Mr. Speaker, that our American ideals and values will survive, sustain us, and make us a stronger nation. Our country speaks with one voice and we are united behind the President. Make no mistake about it, this was an act of war, and will be dealt with as such. The perpetrators of these deplorable, cowardly deeds, and those that aid and comfort them, will be hunted down and brought to justice.""In our desire to avenge this vicious attack, and avenge it we will, we must not erode the civil liberties of Americans. During World War I and World War II, we trampled the liberties of Americans simply because of their ethnicity. These assaults on the freedom of German-Americans, Italian-Americans and Japanese-Americans left black marks upon our history. And we must not repeat those mistakes in the wake of this unspeakable tragedy. Indeed, depriving any group of Americans their liberty undermines the liberty of all Americans." (Dingell Press Release, 9.12.01)
The US Supreme Court decides the Presidential race for Bush in a 5-4 vote. In a press release following the decision, Dingell says: "The Supreme Court had an opportunity to put Americans' fears to rest and prove once and for all that people, not lawyers, choose our elected officials. Sadly, they failed in this regard by falling victim to partisan politics and putting a halt to a recount that would have undoubtedly named the next and rightful president of the United States. However disappointing their decision is, we must move on and work together in a bipartisan manner to restore a sense of confidence to all citizens. Vice President Gore's decision to abide by the court's decision was a step in that direction. I commend him for taking this first, most difficult step and for waging an honorable and courageous campaign. On January 20, 2001, I will join my colleagues when Governor Bush is sworn in as the 43rd President of this great nation. Only by pulling together and making a firm commitment to bipartisanship can we get to the business at hand and look after America's best interests." (Dingell Press Release, 12/14/00)
Election Day 2000: The presidential race is too close to call. Gore wins the critical state of Michigan, but the contest goes into a recount in Florda and continues for 37 days. Gore carries Michigan with the help of Michigan campaign chair, Debbie Dingell. (Free Press, 8/24/00)Dingell elected to a 24th term with 71% of the vote against William Morse. Vote results: 167,142 - 62,469.
House of Representatives passes the Dingell-sponsored Patients Bill of Rights, despite intense lobbying against it by the GOP House and Senate leadership. The Washington Post runs a front page picture of a smiling Dingell above an analysis story titled "Whose Majority Is It, Anyway? Health Care Vote Shows House Democrats Are in Driver's Seat." Thomas Mann from the Brookings Institution says in the story "We've long known there was a strong majority for the Dingell approach to patients' rights." (Washington Post, 10.8.99) Unfortunately, the GOP-controlled Senate would kill the bill that year. In the following Congress, the dynamics had changed. The Democrats controlled the Senate and the GOP controlled the White House. The White House and the House GOP struck a deal that ended any hope for a comprehensive patients' bill of rights.
Dingell passes the Automobile Heritage Act of 1998, which established an Automobile National Heritage Area in Michigan, to "conserve, interpret, and develop the historical, cultural, natural, and recreational resources related to the industrial and cultural heritage of the ANHA. "Former Dingell staffer and DaimlerChrysler Executive Dennis Fitzgibbons would say in 2002: "John Dingell is a skilled legislator who knows how to strike a balance between some very difficult and competing demands. There isn't a piece of legislation affecting the auto industry, energy and the environment that hasn't had his name on it. And every time, it's with higher standards for air quality or for safety or fuel economy." (Detroit News, 8.7.02)
Dingell elected to 23rd term with 67% of the vote. He defeated William Morse 116,145 - 54,121.
Dingell plays a pivotal role in convincing the Department of Housing and Urban Development to forgive the City of Taylor's $16.6 million mortgage on a problematic low income housing development, which would enable the city to redevelop the complex and turn it into a vibrant and safe part of the community.
John D. Dingell Veterans Medical Center opens in Detroit. President Clinton extended this honor to Mr. Dingell for his years of work on behalf of America's veterans. Vice President Al Gore attends the opening ceremony. (Crain's Detroit Business, 7/14/97)
Dingell introduces the Patient's Bill of Rights, to hold insurance companies accountable for their actions and to protect patients.Since its introduction, this legislation has dominated the American health care debate. Dingell has re-introduced this bill every Congress since the 105th Congress, most recently on May 11, 2005. (HR 820, 2/25/97; HR 2259, 5/11/05)
The Balanced Budget Amendments Act of 1997 is passed and includes a title to create the State Child Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) - legislation Dingell had promoted for several years.
Dingell is elected to a 22nd term with 62% of the vote. Dingell's opponent, James DeSana was a former Mayor of Wyandotte who became a Republican to run against Dingell. Dingell carried every precinct in Wyandotte. Vote results: 136,854 - 78,723.Clinton defeats Dole in the Presidential election.
Dingell comments on the 104th Congress. In a PBS program opposite Congressman Bliley, Dingell expresses his thoughts on the activities of the Congress for the last two years: "The 104th Congress is unfortunately going to be remembered most for being the Congress that couldn't pass a budget and then shut down the government - twice. Its major strengths are actually its major failures: the failed attempts to cut Medicare, gut the Clean Water Act, repeal quality standards for nursing homes, slash funding for education and safe and drug-free schools, and more. In the 105th Congress I would like to see us concentrate on the very basic matters of most intense concern to working families and to get away from ideological crusades."
Dingell introduces a bill to end "drive through deliveries" for hospital maternity stays. It is one of the many problems he sees resulting from "profits over people" managed care health plans. The bill is enacted into law and requires insurance companies to provide 48 hours hospital coverage for a "normal birth" and 96 hours for a cesarean section. (HR 3436, 104th Congress)
Dingell, at age 69, reaches his 40th anniversary of representing the people of Southeast Michigan in the House of Representatives.
Dingell becomes Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. A National Journal article from 1997 would say: "(Dingell) has proven far more reliant and tenacious than the skeptics expected and he has demonstrated, as one of his longtime aides put it, "
Dingell elected to a 21st term with 59.1% of the vote. He defeated Ken Larkin 105,849 - 71,159. Republicans win a majority of House seats to take control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years.
House passes Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1993 218-216, which puts in place critical components of the plan to eliminate the federal budget deficit. Dingell is a key player in the negotiations. (Washington Post, 8/3/93, 8/4/93, 8/5/93)
In 1993, Dingell begins investigations into the nation's blood banks and finds serious problems. Records were not properly maintained; blood banks were failing to properly test all units of blood and destroy contaminated units; and measures were not taken to prevent donors with HIV, hepatitis or other diseases from donating again. As a result of Dingell's investigation, the FDA issues strict new procedures for blood collection centers.
Dingell takes the lead in the House to work with President Clinton to pass a universal health insurance law for all Americans. Dingell says: "Heath care is a principle reason I came to Congress. I shaped virtually my entire career with this goal in mind. I knew the opportunity would come." (Detroit Free Press, 5.18.94)Opponents to universal health care launch a $100 million lobbying and media campaign to ensure the plan's demise and universal health care is defeated. Dingell calls it one of his "biggest disappointments."