Now it's official: Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.) became the longest-serving member of Congress in history Friday, after having served his constituents for 57 years, five months and 26 days.
In order to score this coup Dingell -- who has undergone a close primary contest, a fight over his chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee chairmanship, and plenty of other battles during the course of his career -- broke the previous record held by another Democrat, the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd (W.Va.).
President Obama marked the occasion by hailing the veteran lawmaker's work on health care, the environment, labor and civil-rights issues.
"First elected in 1955 to the seat formerly held by his father, John Dingell Sr., John has always worked tirelessly for people of his beloved Michigan and for working families across America," the president said in a statement. "He has helped pass some of the most important laws of the last half-century, from Medicare to the Civil Rights Act to the Clean Air Act to the Affordable Care Act, and he continues to fight for workers’ rights, access to affordable healthcare, and the preservation of our environment for future generations to enjoy."
Congress is in recess Friday, and the two chambers will celebrate Dingell’s streak on Thursday in the National Statuary Hall. Before that happens, however, you can expect plenty of laudatory statements to come out praising the congressman for his longevity, and commitment to the institution he loves.