Topics: House of Representatives

John Dingell brought industry on board with big government

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Congress,Timothy P. Carney,House of Representatives,Big Government,John Dingell

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., won a special election in 1955, and was sworn into Congress in December of that year. That is closer to the beginning of the Spanish-American War than it is to today.

There are a ton of interesting things to say about Dingell and his nearly 60 years in the House. Back in 2002, I was intrigued by Dingell's redistricting-caused primary against Ann Arbor liberal Lynn Rivers -- a war between old-school blue collar Democrats and the newer breed of wealthier, social-liberal Democrats.

But I wanted to note here Dingell's role as the bridge between big-government liberalism and industry. Dingell's wife famously was a General Motors lobbyist. Also, in 2009, Dingell was the Democrat who took to the floor to brag on how the latest regulation was supported by industry.

In June 2009, the House passed its climate legislation. Although some liberals attacked GOP opponents as shills for Big Business, Dingell noted that Big Business was actually on his side:

[I]t is urgent that we commence acting upon this legislation. It is based largely on the recommendations of USCAP, which is a diverse group of environmental groups and industry with a shared desire for a commonsense bill to address climate change.

Similarly, during the July 2009 debate over a new food safety law, Dingell bragged, “We have brought in industry, which supports the bill.”

Dingell said the bill would let Americans “know that the foods that we are bringing into this country and that are being made available to the American people are in fact safe.”

Meanwhile, smaller farmers and producers opposed the bill.

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