John Dingell

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John Dingell currently serves the 15th Congressional district of Michigan

John David Dingell, Jr. has been a Democratic member of the U. S. House of Representatives, representing a district in the working-class western suburbs of Detroit, Michigan since 1955 (currently the 15th district, map). Dingell is called "the Dean of House" because he is the longest serving member.

Record and controversies

General information about important bills and votes for can be found in Congresspedia's articles on legislation. You can add information you find on how John Dingell voted by clicking the "[edit]" link to the right and typing it in. Remember to cite your sources!

Iraq War

Dingell voted against the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.[1]

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Iraq War.

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

Marriage to auto industry lobbyist

John Dingell is married to Debbie Dingell, a lobbyist for Detroit-based General Motors. When they married Debbie switched to an administrative position at GM where her actions are overseen by a company lawyer. She stated, "Fortunately ... GM is large enough that I could change jobs."[2] Debbie Dingell is the grand-daughter of the Fisher brothers, the founders of General Motors.[3]

Contradiction over energy task force

On January 31, 2007, Dingell's letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi regarding his objections to working with colleague Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) to create a new energy task force was made public. The letter revealed contradictions from Dingell's earlier comments where he denied having any knowledge that such a task force was underway.

The issue of data security, which is important to senior Democrats on the Commerce Committee and Rep. Barney Frank’s (D-Mass.), Financial Services panel, has prompted Dingell’s response to the creation of a new energy task force. The idea to establish a new task force was formally introduced by Frank in his letter to Pelosi submitted on December 11, 2006.

In early January 2007, Dingell “created a stir” when he opposed the establishment of Frank’s idea for another energy task force. In the weeks following, he has tried to dispel the attention by denying such opposition when he publicly stated, “I haven’t said anything about it yet — I haven’t said anything at all.” “Frank mentioned something about this at a meeting and I made no comment whatsoever. I never knew it was any kind of formal discussion or offer or proposal or anything else.”

Dingell’s denial, however, contradicted the letter he sent to Pelosi two days after she received Frank’s letter formally suggesting the task force. [1]

House energy bill

On June 18, 2007, in a disagreement with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) over energy legislation, Dingell removed provisions from a draft energy bill in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce that would have set new fuel efficiency standards and barred states from regulating vehicle emissions. Pelosi and many other Democrats opposed the language, as they did not want to prevent states like California from establishing their own higher emissions standards. Dingell stated that no agreement had been reached, claiming he made the changes in an effort to expedite the legislation, in an attempt by the House to pass the bill by July 4, hoping to declare it an "Energy Independence Day." He said he would still bring up the issue at a later date.[4]

Gas tax

In a July 8, 2007 interview on C-SPAN, Dingell announced his intention to "propose a new carbon tax that would increase the gasoline tax by 50 cents." Acknowledging that voters might not be willing to bear the cost of such a tax to limit greenhouse gas emissions, he said he would introduce the measure “just to sort of see how people really feel about this.” In addition to the gas tax increase, Dingell’s new proposal would institute an additional tax on each ton of carbon dioxide emitted by automobiles and electric utilities.[5]

War on Christmas

On December 15, 2005, Rep. Dingell read a poem on the floor of the House that was sharply critical of, among other things, Fox News, Bill O'Reilly and the so-called "War on Christmas".[2]

Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007

In early July, 2007, House Democratic leaders planned to pass the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 (H.R. 2900) with bipartisan support. The bill, which was sponsored by Dingell, was a Food and Drug Administration overhaul measure that would reauthorize the agency’s program for approving new prescription drugs. It would also create new drug safety regulations, including larger fines for violators. The bill was put on the suspension calendar, which would require it to have a 2/3 vote to pass.Usually, bills considered under suspension of the rules have widespread support and are easily passed.[6]

Main article: U.S. prescription drug legislation#House

Gun control legislation

The NICS Improvement Act of 2007

The NICS Improvement Act of 2007 (H.R.297) is a gun control measure which was introduced in the House on January 5, 2007 by Dingell with co-sponsor Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.). It would amend the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 to require the head of each federal agency that has records relating to persons for whom receipt of a firearm would violate federal or state law to provide that information to the Attorney General for inclusion into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). In addition, it would require the agency, upon being made aware that the basis under which a record was made available no longer applies, to correct the record and notify the Attorney General and the the Secretary of Homeland Security. It would also have to make available to the Attorney General records relevant to a determination that a person is disqualified from possessing or receiving a firearm and information about a change in such person's status for removal from NICS, where appropriate.[7]

The bill would also direct the Attorney General to make grants to states and Indian tribal governments to[8]:

  • Establish or upgrade information and identification technologies for firearms eligibility determinations
  • Improve the automation and transmittal to federal and state record repositories of criminal history dispositions, records relevant to determining whether a person has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, court orders, and mental health adjudications or commitments.[9]

The bill would require the Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics to study and evaluate NICS operations and to report annually to Congress and to specified states regarding best practices; and the Comptroller General to conduct an audit of the expenditure of all funds appropriated for criminal records improvement to determine how the funds were expended. [10]

Main article: NICS Improvement Act of 2007

International solid waste importation and management act

In 2007, Rogers sponsored the International Solid Waste Importation and Management Act of 2007 (H.R. 518), which would amend the Solid Waste Disposal Act to authorize states to restrict receipt of foreign municipal solid waste. The House passed the bill in April 24, 2007.

Main article: International Solid Waste Importation and Management Act of 2007

Media, telecommunications and intellectual property

Scolding the Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.) has responded to pressure from Rep. Dingell and other members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. During hearings held in March, the F.C.C. was scolded for failures in recent years. The F.C.C. botched handling of cable television franchising, created a backlog of unanswered consumer complaints and did nothing during various disputes between industry rivals.

See the Media, Telecommunications and Intellectual Property Policy Portal for more information.



Dingell's father, John D. Dingell, Sr. (1894-1955), represented the same district from 1933 to 1955. The Dingells are of Polish descent, and together they have represented the heavily Polish western suburbs of Detroit for 72 years

Dingell was born July 8, 1926. He served in the United States Army during World War II, then attended Georgetown University and Georgetown Law School in Washington, D.C., where he graduated with a J.D. in 1952. He worked as a Congressional employee, a forest ranger, and a prosecuting attorney for Wayne County until 1955, when John, Sr. died and John, Jr. won a special election to succeed him. He is married to Debbie Dingell, who is Executive Director, Public Affairs and Community Relations for General Motors and Vice Chairman of General Motors Foundation.[11]

Congressional career

Dingell won the seat in his own right in 1956 and has been reelected every two years since. His district was called the 15th District 1955-1965, the 16th District 1965-2003, and the 15th District again since 2003. From 1981 until the Democrats lost control of the House in 1995, Dingell chaired the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and was regarded by analysts as one of the four or five most powerful members of the House. He is still the committee's ranking Democrat.

Dingell has always won reelection by double-digit margins, although the increasing conservatism of the white suburbs of Detroit since the 1970s has led to several serious Republican challenges in the 1990s. However, he has won his last two elections with over 70 percent of the vote. In 2002 he successfully defeated a challenge in the Democratic primary election from a slightly more liberal Democrat, Lynn Rivers. Redistricting by the Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature following the 2000 Census, had resulted in the two Democratic incumbents being placed into the same district.

2006 elections

No major candidates announced their intentions to contest Dingell’s seat in the November 2006 election. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [3]

Positions and Legislation

Dingell is generally considered a liberal Democrat, and throughout his career he has been a leading congressional supporter of organized labor, social welfare measures and traditional progressive policies. At the beginning of every Congress, Dingell introduces a bill providing for a national health insurance system--the same bill that his father proposed while he was in Congress.[4]

At the start of each Congress, Dingell has introduced legislation (H.R. 15 in the 110th Congress) which proposes a national health plan financed by value-added tax and the National Health Care Trust Fund. He continues to pursue a U.S. Patients' Bill of Rights.[5] He personally favors a single-payer plan and government-run insurance program, but he followed the Clintons' proposal, managed competition, during the Clinton administration.

Dingell "was a primary force behind enactment of the National Wilderness Act, the Water Quality Act of 1965, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act of 1977, the Safe Drinking Water Amendments of 1986, and the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. Closer to home, he was also responsible for securing federal funds to clean up the Rouge River, said to be one of the dirtiest waterways in the nation, and to create the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge."[6]

"He was an early and strong advocate of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and of Medicare, two of the most important pieces of legislation of the last century. He also played a key role on many smaller issues that affect everyone's daily life, like the creation of the National Do Not Call Registry for keeping telemarketers at bay."[7]

On some issues he reflects the conservative values of his largely Catholic and working-class district. He was a supporter of the Vietnam War until 1971. Although he supported the Lyndon Johnson Administration's civil rights bills, he opposed campaigns to expand school desegregation to the Detroit suburbs via mandatory busing. He takes a moderately conservative position on abortion. He has voted against clean air bills if these appear to threaten Detroit's automobile industry. He is an avid sportsman and hunter, and he strongly opposes gun control, and is a former board member of the National Rifle Association.

On December 13, 2005, Dingell was honored at the White House with a Presidential lunch for his 50th Congressional anniversary.

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00001783&cycle=2006</crpcontribdata>

Links to more campaign contribution information for John Dingell
from the Center for Responsive Politics' site.
Fundraising profile: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2006 election cycle Career totals

Committees and Affiliations


  • House Committee on Energy and Commerce - Chair
    • Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection
    • Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality
    • Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials
    • Subcommittee on Health
    • Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
    • Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet

Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on John Dingell. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


DC Office:
2328 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-2215
Phone: 202-225-4071
Fax: 202-226-0371
Web Email

District Office - Dearborn:
19855 West Outer Drive, Suite 103-E
Dearborn, MI 48124
Phone: 313-278-2936
Fax: 313-278-3914

District Office - Monroe:
23 East Front Street, Suite 103
Monroe, MI 48162
Phone: 734-243-1849
Fax: 734-243-5559

District Office - Ypsilanti:
5 South Washington Street
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
Phone: 734-481-1100
Fax: 734-481-1112

Articles and Resources


  1. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
  2. Carlson, Margaret. "Ethics When Spouses Earn Paychecks," Time Magazine, March 30, 1992.
  3. Ridgeway, James. "All in the Family," Village Voice, August 19-25, 1998.
  4. Jim Snyder, "Dingell drops energy bill elements," The Hill, June 18, 2007.
  5. Chris Good, "Dingell to propose 50 cent gasoline tax increase," The Hill, July 7, 2007.
  6. Drew Armstrong. ["House Sets High Bar for FDA Overhaul, Hoping to Send a Message to Industry, Senate,"] CQ. July 6, 2007.
  7. Library of Congress Thomas legislative information site
  8. Library of Congress Thomas legislative information site
  9. Library of Congress Thomas legislative information site
  10. Library of Congress Thomas legislative information site
  11. "About Debbie", Debbie Dingell for Wayne State Board of Governors, September 2006.


Local blogs and discussion sites


Corresponding article on Wikipedia and Cause Caller. (If Cause Caller link does not work, pick from its list of senators and representatives.)

Current Office: U.S. House of Representatives
111th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

110th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

Committees: House Committee on Energy and Commerce
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
December 13, 1955
First Took Current Office:
December 13, 1955
Next Election:
November 2, 2010
Term Ends:
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
1. 19855 West Outer Drive, Suite 103-E, Dearborn, MI 48124
Phone: 313-278-2936 / Fax: 313-278-3914
2. 23 East Front Street, Suite 103, Monroe, MI 48162
Phone: 734-243-1849 / Fax: 734-243-5559
3. 5 South Washington Street, Ypsilanti, MI 48197
Phone: 734-481-1100 / Fax: 734-481-1112

Campaign Contact:

Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

Phone: / Fax:

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: July 8, 1926