In a Washington Post op-ed published the day after his death, former Congressman John Dingell Jr. reflected on Congress' progressive accomplishments and reminded readers that lawmakers serve at the pleasure of the American people. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also ordered flags on state property lowered.
Debbie Dingell, 65, was elected to fill his congressional seat in 2014.
Dingell had introduced a universal health care coverage bill in each of his terms, and said one of his proudest moments was sitting next to Obama as he signed the law. The Democrat was a master of legislative deal-making and a staunch advocate for the US auto industry. Colleen and I are grieving with Debbie and the Dingell family as we remember the extraordinary Dean of the House.
The political legacy of the Baby Boomer generation is bucking the post-Great Depression and post-WWII status quo-all while claiming that their way is how it's always been-despite older folks like John Dingell raising the alarm about repealing policies which have proven to work.
He played a key role in helping pass signature pieces of legislation such as the Civil Rights Act, Medicare, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.
"In my life and career I have often heard it said that so-and-so has real power - as in, 'the powerful Wile E. Coyote, chairman of the Capture the Road Runner Committee, '" said Dingell. On Thursday night, Washington tweeted out tributes to the Detroit Democrat.
MI 5th Congressional District Representative Dan Kildee was among those close to Dingell.
For more than 16 years Dingell led the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is responsible for overseeing the Medicare and Medicaid programs, the U.S. Public Health Service, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health.
Former vice president Joe Biden appreciated Dingell's "great moral courage and vision", and said he would "miss him terribly". "I said, 'Well I have to go over and meet him". "I don't want people to say I stayed too long".
Debbie Dingell, his wife, has held the position since then. Forewords were written by former President George H.W. Bush, who died only a few days before its publication, and former Vice-President Joe Biden.
Dingell favored abolishing the Senate, where legislation faces a higher threshold for passage and combining the two chambers into one.