WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) -- John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history and staunch ally to the U.S. auto industry, plans to retire at the end of his current term.
"The time has come," the Michigan Democrat said to the Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber of Commerce today.
Dingell, 87, has served alongside 11 presidents. He has been a member of the House of Representatives for 58 years, which is longer than President Barack Obama and about half of the current House members have been alive.
Dingell has been an advocate of U.S. automakers and manufacturing jobs, and a longtime supporter of national health insurance and oversight of government agencies.
"Congressman Dingell's legendary support for the American auto industry in the United States House of Representatives has truly been second to none," said Matt Blunt, president of the American Automotive Policy Council, a Washington public policy group founded by Chrysler Group, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors.
Blunt said today the group planned to keep working with Dingell until he retires "to create jobs in Michigan and strengthen the U.S. manufacturing economy."
Dingell presided over House proceedings that led to passage of the 2010 health care law. He wielded the same gavel he used during the debate over the creation of Medicare more than 40 years earlier.