President Lyndon Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King, Jr., others look on. LBJ Library photo #276-10-WH64 by Cecil Stoughton]

Representative John Dingell says his most important vote was for the Civil Rights Act

Jun 03, 2013

by Benjamin Bell
[posted on abcnews.go.com on June 2, 2013]

Speaking this morning on “This Week,” Democratic Rep. John Dingell of Michigan — who is poised to become the longest serving member of Congress this week — bemoaned Washington partisanship, saying a “refusal to compromise” is one of the biggest changes he has seen over his more than 57-year career in Congress when asked about the issue by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.

“Lack of collegiality. Refusal to compromise. An absolute reluctance to work together. And I think a total loss of the understanding of the traditions,” Dingell said.

“Today members are so busy getting re-elected, spend so little time there, there’s so much pressure on them from outside to be partisan and to fight, not to do the things that we’re supposed to, such as compromising and working together,” Dingell said. “And compromise has gotten, George, to be a dirty word. And this is a great shame. The founding fathers intended something quite different.”

“The one of which …I’m most proud and which I think was the most important was the vote I cast on the ’64 civil rights bill that allowed citizens to vote. You remember the country was being torn apart by the denial to our people the right to vote and happily that began a process that cured it so that a black American citizen is now sitting in the White House,” Dingell said.

Watch the video