Representative speaks on the state of Congress

In a speech sponsored by the Georgetown Public Policy Institute (GPPI) on Tuesday, Rep. John D. Dingell (D-MI) (COL ‘49, LAW ‘52) addressed topics from healthcare reform to the national budget to the future of his home state.

A Georgetown alumnus, Dingell started by sharing memories from his time on the Hilltop, which during his time here was “bursting at the seams”—he recalled that campus was composed simply of New North, Old North, Copley, and White Gravenor.

Dingell’s numerous insights (and jokes) about the government are a result of his vast experience in Congress. Currently in his 29th term serving Michigan’s 15th district, Dingell is the longest continuously-serving representative in history, having assumed office in 1955.

Dingell predicted that the most important issue facing the current session of Congress is the nation’s budget. Regarding efforts to reduce debt, Dingell stressed that education, healthcare, and infrastructure must not suffer the consequences of budget cuts.

“We need to see to it that our people are healthy and well-educated,” he said.

In its examination of the budget, Congress should aim to “keep the investments that are so necessary for the United States […] to remain where we are as the greatest and strongest and most important nation,” according to Dingell.

In regards to the notion of bipartisanship, Dingell replied, “It was never dead, and it’s not now dead, and it will have to come back when the need is there,” stressing the importance of relationships between members of Congress in building cooperation across the aisle.

Through camaraderie between elected officials of different parties, Dingell believes that successful healthcare reform is possible.  “We could make this thing work, make it work well, and make it a good thing,” he stated.

“Honest dialogue between people, and between the people and their government” is another necessity.

“Unless we can restore that, it’s my feeling that we are not going to become again the kind of nation that we want,” Dingell said.

Photo: Sam Brothers

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