Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rep. John Dingell on what's wrong with Congress

U.S. Rep. John Dingell (left), D-Dearborn, told an audience of about 150 at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy on Wednesday that the two houses of Congress are losing the skills of compromise, conciliation and cooperation that are necessary for effective governing. Gone are the days when lawmakers would battle contentiously on the House and Senate floors, but then share solid, respectful friendships after hours, said Dingell, who has served in the House for nearly 58 years. He said representatives face more pressure to adhere to narrow campaign commitments rather than focus on what's good for the country overall, and that the massive spending required for a modern campaign also corrupts the system. He said it's up to the voters to make clear their wishes if they don't want the congressional breakdown to continue. Dingell, shown here with Richard Hall, professor of public policy and political science, also outlined his views on several policy issues about which he was asked by audience members. (Photo by Scott Soderberg, U-M Photo Services)