By BOB OLIVER
DEARBORN – U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Dearborn), the longest serving congressman in U.S. history, checked himself into Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit today to undergo a minimally invasive procedure.
According to a press release issued by Dingell’s office, the congressman “recently developed atrial fibrillation, and the procedure will seek to find the source of the abnormal heart rhythm and correct it.”
Dingell, 87, is expected to remain in the hospital overnight and be released tomorrow.
The procedure comes less than three weeks after Dingell announced that he would not be running for re-election for Congress in November for the first time since 1957.
His current term ends in December.
In announcing his upcoming retirement, Dingell pointed toward the partisan fighting and lack of cooperation in getting work done as a reason for his retirement, as well as the feeling that it was the right time to step away.
“Around this time every two years, my wife, Deborah, and I confer on the question of whether I will seek re-election,” Dingell said. “I put myself to the test and have always known that when the time came that if I felt I could not live up to my own personal standard for a member of Congress, it would be time to step aside for someone else to represent this district.”
Deborah Dingell announced four days later that she would be running to fill his vacated seat.
John Dingell took office on Dec. 13, 1955, following a special election for the seat representing the 15th District of Michigan. The seat had formerly been held by Dingell’s father, John D. Dingell Sr., who represented the district from 1933 until his death in 1955.
Since then he has been re-elected 29 times despite the re-drawing of district lines several times over the years. Dingell was last victorious in the November 2012 elections where he won the seat representing Michigan’s 12th District.
On June 7, 2013, he became the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history. At 57 years, five months and 26 days, he passed the previous mark set by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.). He was already the longest-serving member of the House, a feat he attained in February 2009.
He currently sits on all six subcommittees of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and votes in each of them. He was also chairman of that committee from 1981 to 1995 and again from 2007 to 2009.
(Bob Oliver can be reached at [email protected])