John Dingell

Tom Varco / Wikimedia commons

Congress is trying to speed up the review process for new medicines and devices while still keeping them safe.   A bill before the House would increase the amount of money and authority given to the Food and Drug Administration to do that.

Congressman John Dingell represents Michigan's 15th District and supports the bill.  He says one way the new bill will protect the drug supply is by increasing the FDA's authority over imported medicine.

"[The User Fee bill] enables [the] Food and Drug [Administration] to address the problems that we had (i.e. unsafe pharmaceuticals and unsafe commodities and components for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals in this country," Dingell said.  "So Food and Drug can control them now."

Drug and medical device manufacturers typically pay user fees that fund the reviews by the Food and Drug Administration.  The new bill will expand those fees to more companies, including international ones. 

"This is the best way of leveling the playing field between American manufacturers and foreign manufacturers" said Dingell, "and also seeing to it that everybody -- consumers, manufacturers and all get the services that they're entitled to from [the] Food and Drug [Administration]."

Patient safety advocates are against parts of the bill. They say even tougher reviews should be applied to medical devices.

-Nishant Sekaran, Michigan Radio Newsroom

The tail fins on cars were just starting to take off the first time he ran. The nation had about half as many people as it does now.

Neither of his opponents this year had yet been born. For that matter, neither had Governor Snyder or President Obama.

John F. Kennedy was a freshman senator, General Motors was the world’s most powerful corporation, and nobody had ever seen a Japanese car. We are talking 1955, when, a few days after Christmas, a few thousand voters showed up for a special election, and sent a geeky-looking 29-year-old lawyer to Congress.

The Dean is not ready to retire.

John Dingell is the longest-serving member of the U.S. House in history.

And he wants to serve even longer.

Dingell announced he'll run for a 30th term in Congress, representing the new 12th District of Michigan, which includes parts of Wayne and Washtenaw counties.

The 86-year old Dingell walks and stands with difficulty, using a cane, and he also relies on a hearing aid.

But he says his health is great, he still works 14 to 16 hour days, and he has too much left to accomplish to think about retiring.

"I tell you, I have never figured out how to not worry about the concerns that my people have," Dingell told a small crowd in Ann Arbor.

The press conference was held directly in front of a construction site for the new Stadium bridge, for which Dingell helped secure $17 million in state and federal funds.

He is facing a Democratic challenger in the August primary.

26-year-old Daniel Marcin is a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan.

Marcin served as Treasurer for a year for the Graduate Employees Organization, a student union at the University of Michigan.

But he has not held an elected public office.

Marcin's Facebook page

Michigan's Rep. John Dingell,  the longest serving member in the U.S. Congress, is running for his 30th term---his first came during the Eisenhower administration back in 1955. But as WNYC's the Takeaway tells us, he is facing an extra hurdle that he hasn't seen for a decade: A primary challenger.

Daniel Marcin is a Ph.D. student in economics at the University of Michigan and he is currently campaigning to get on the ballot for the state's 12th District, pitting himself against Dingell in the August 7 Democratic primary.

Marcin spoke to the Takeaway, saying he's not overly concerned with taking on such a long-standing incumbent:

"This election for me is not about experience," he said. "This election is about ideas. And John Dingell has failed to deliver on environmental action. He's failed to deliver on same-sex marriage and he's failed to deliver on sound economics."

You can listen to the full interview below:

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

There’s a new public transit option for those who want to travel between Ann Arbor and Detroit Metro Airport.

It's called AirRide, and it hits the road Monday.

The AirRide bus is not your average mass transit ride. For starters, there’s wi-fi, outlets for your laptop, and a bathroom. Apparently the seats are comfortable, too. So comfy that Ann Arbor Transportation Authority's David Nacht describes them as "more comfortable than three out of the four chairs" in his living room.

NASA / via flickr.com

The US Environmental Protection Agency has awarded more than $2 million in grants to Detroit-area water restoration projects.

These grants will go to four Metro Detroit projects. They include efforts to reduce toxins in the Rouge and Detroit rivers, and to eliminate e. coli sources near Macomb County beaches.

Congressman John Dingell says those projects represent “indispensable investments. But he notes that in a tough fiscal environment, “We’re going to have a difficult time defending” them.

Photo courtesy of www.conyers.house.gov

Democratic Representative John Conyers has told The Detroit News that he plans to seek another congressional term in 2012.

Conyers, who represents the state's 14th District in Detroit, has been in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1965. He is 81 years old and is the second most senior member in the House. The Dean of the House is another Congressman from Michigan: Democrat John Dingell. Dingell, who represents Michigan's 15th District, recently announced that he, too, will run for reelection in 2012.

He was a young man when he first came to Congress, tall, gangly, and with questionable taste in haircuts and ties.

Owlish old Sam Rayburn swore him in on a chill December day, saying something, no doubt, about his father, who had held the seat before him, and who had died just months before.

That was more than fifty-five years ago. General Motors, the world’s richest corporation was putting ever bigger tail fins on their cars, and consumers were just starting to wonder if they’d ever be able to afford one of those sensational new color TVs.

That was the world when John Dingell Jr. arrived in Washington at the end of 1955, the country‘s newest and youngest congressman. He was twenty-nine then. This summer he will be eighty-five. Everybody else who was in Congress when he arrived is gone.

Most are dead.

When he arrived, Barack Obama and Sarah Palin were years away from being born. He’s stayed in the House longer than anyone in history. Two men have stayed in Congress longer, when you combine time in both chambers.

John Dingell will pass one of them soon. But to beat the other, West Virginia’s Robert Byrd, Dingell has get reelected one more time, next year.

This week, the man they used to call the truck announced that he intended to try to do just that. He’s running again.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The dean of Michigan's congressional delegation plans to stay in Washington. John Dingell says he plans to run again for the seat he's held since the mid-50's.

Here's the Associated Press story:

Two months after winning a 28th full term in the U.S. House, Michigan's John Dingell says he's going for 29. The 84-year-old Dearborn Democrat tells The Detroit News he'll be a candidate for re-election in 2012. Dingell has been in Congress since 1955. He calls it "the greatest job in the world."

The man known as "Big John" currently represents the 15th District, which could be in jeopardy as redistricting looms. The number of House seats in Michigan will drop one to 14 next year, and majority Republicans could change up Dingell's district.

It now encompasses the far southeastern portion of the state, including Monroe and Ann Arbor. Dingell says he's "had three bad redistrictings" and has "survived every one of them.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi
Public Citizen / Flickr

Representative Nancy Pelosi, outgoing Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, will visit the North American International Auto Show next week in Detroit.

The Democratic Representative from California says she will visit the show on Monday, which is the first day of previews for the media.  The show opens to the public on January 15th and runs through January 23rd at Cobo Center in downtown Detroit.

As the Associated Press reports:

Pelosi says a string manufacturing base is vital to the nation's security and competitiveness. She says Detroit's automakers are central to efforts to grow a "clean, green economy."

The Detroit Free Press reports that Michigan Democratic Representative John Dingell invited Pelosi to the show.

John Dingell being sworn in
John Dingell's website

John Dingell has declared his victory in a closer-than-expected race against Republican Robert Steele.  Dingell has served 56 years, and he will go on to a 28th term.

John Dingell and Rahm Emanuel holding a paczki
Official photo from the United States Congress

This November Michigan voters will cast ballots in 15 races for the U.S. House of Representatives. Right now, two of those races are considered "toss-ups", according to NPR  - the race between Mark Schauer (D) and Tim Walberg (R)  in the 7th District, and the race between Dan Benishek (R) and Gary McDowell (D) in the 1st District.

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