“Serving nearly six decades in the House of Representatives, John Dingell has earned the distinction of being both the longest-serving Member of Congress in U.S. history and one of the most influential legislators of all time,” said Obama in a written statement.
The president said the “people of Michigan — and the American people — are better off because of John Dingell’s service to this country.”
Dingell, 87, will step down from office at the end of his current term. He has served in Congress since 1955. Reports suggested that his wife, Debbie Dingell, may run for his safely Democratic seat.
“In Washington, John risked his seat to support the Civil Rights Act of 1964, fought to pass Medicare in 1965, and penned legislation like the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act that have kept millions of Americans healthy and preserved our natural beauty for future generations,” said Obama, touting the lawmaker's work.
But the president made special note of Dingell's contributions to crafting Obama's signature domestic achievement, the Affordable Care Act.
“But of all John's accomplishments, perhaps the most remarkable has been his tireless fight to guarantee quality, affordable health care for every American,” said Obama. “Decades after his father first introduced a bill for comprehensive health reform, John continued to introduce health care legislation at the beginning of every session.
“As an original author of the Affordable Care Act, he helped give millions of families the peace of mind of knowing they won’t lose everything if they get sick,” said Obama.