The political world mourns former Rep. Dingell, Congress’ longest-serving member

The political world mourns former Rep. Dingell, Congress’ longest-serving member

House Democrats sign the Affordable Care Act on March 22, 2010. (Photo: Monique Cala)

UPDATE (2:26 PM EST): President Donald Trump has issued a proclamation ordering flags at all public buildings to be flown at half-staff through sunset on Saturday.

End Update

WASHINGTON — Former Michigan Rep. John Dingell, an iconic lawmaker who achieved the status of longest-serving member of Congress in 2013, died Thursday at 92.

“Congressman Dingell died peacefully today at his home in Dearborn, surrounded by his wife Deborah. He was a lion of the United States Congress and a loving son, father, husband, grandfather and friend,” a statement from the office of Rep. Debbie Dingell, the Congressman’s widow who succeeded him in the lower chamber, read. “He will be remembered for his decades of public service to the people of Southeast Michigan, his razor sharp wit, and a lifetime of dedication to improving the lives of all who walk this earth.”

Dingell’s passing was met with mourning across the political sphere.

Former President Barack Obama invoked Dingell’s longstanding fight for health care, one that was punctuated by the lawmaker’s introduction of a national health care bill every Congressional session from 1956 through the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

“John Dingell’s life reminds us that change does not always come with a flash, but instead with steady, determined effort,” Obama said in a statement. “John sat beside me when I signed the Affordable Care Act  a law that nearly cut in half the uninsured rate in America.”

Obama noted that Dingell’s push for a national health care model brought the U.S. “closer to that vision than ever before.”

The legislation was initially championed every year since 1933 by his father, Rep. John Dingell Sr. (D-Mich.), who died in 1955.

Former President Bill Clinton echoed Obama’s sentiments.

“There are few major legislative triumphs since 1955 that John didn’t have a key hand in passing,” Clinton said in a statement. “He was a passionate advocate for health care for all and was instrumental in creating Medicare and passing the Affordable Care Act.”

Clinton went on to laud Dingell for his role in the Civil Rights Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.

Former President George W. Bush, who thanked Dingell for his service Thursday afternoon, praised him as a “a gentleman who showed great respect for our country and her people.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, whose policy goals were at times at odds with Dingell, also lauded the former Congressman.

“Our country just lost a great and faithful public servant,” CEO Thomas Donohue said in a statement. “He was an institution of Congress, a force to be reckoned with, the ‘Dean of the House’— and he served Michigan and his country with pride and honor.”

Dingell’s colleagues in the lower chamber made clear that his legacy is certain to outlive him.

“His memory will stand as an inspiration to all who worked with him or had the pleasure of knowing him,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “His leadership will endure in the lives of the millions of American families he touched.”

“John Dingell left a lasting impression with everyone he met,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tweeted. “As the longest serving member of the House in history, he will be missed and remembered for his lifetime of service.”

The stream of memorials, however, had one key omission.

Neither the White House or President Donald Trump has yet to weigh in on Dingell’s passing.

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