Pelosi Floor Remarks Honoring Congressman John Dingell

December 9, 2014
Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks today on the House floor honoring retiring Congressman John Dingell, the longest-serving Member of Congress.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

“I thank the gentleman for yielding; and I appreciate his friendship with the distinguished leader of the entire Congress, ‘The Dean,’ – number one, as Congresswoman Kaptur said.  Mr. Speaker, I'm going to be brief and put some of my statement in the record, and hopefully return to the floor in the couple days ahead to say more about Mr. Dingell, because so many Members are waiting.  And I hope more time will be afforded for us to sing the praises of this great man.

“Every now and then, you hear the expression that somebody is a ‘living legend.’  That doesn't even begin to describe John Dingell.  He is a living legend.  He has had a hand in nearly every major legislative accomplishment over the past six decades, from protecting civil rights and workers' rights – I'm so glad to see John Lewis here – to ensuring food safety, to enacting consumer protections, to creating jobs in Michigan's 12th district and throughout our country.

“Yet, among his countless achievements, none holds greater significance than his contribution to the good health of the American people.  Each congressional term since 1955, he introduced legislation to secure affordable health care for all Americans.  In 1965, he held the gavel in his hand as Medicare became the law of the land.  In 2010, more than half a century later, it was my privilege to hold that same gavel in my hand as we passed the Affordable Care Act, realizing the dream of the Dingell family.

“To work alongside John Dingell is to be inspired by his strength, by the history of our institution, by the seriousness of his work – not only the length of his service, for sure, but the quality of his leadership.  He is our distinguished Chairman, our distinguished Dean, a cherished colleague and friend, a living legend – as I said – but that only begins to tell the tale.  His experience, his leadership, his partnership and his passion will be sorely missed by all of us who had the honor to serve alongside him.

“We wish him, his beloved wife and our soon-to-be colleague, Debbie, and the entire Dingell family the very best.  I rise today to join in the tributes to a public servant of unmatched leadership and quality.  With that, I yield back to the distinguished gentleman from New Jersey who follows in many footsteps of Mr. Dingell as the Ranking Member on the Energy & Commerce Committee.  Thank you, Mr. Pallone.”