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Rep. Dingell, backer of federal oversight of insurer solvency, to retire


U.S. Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich. — a longtime advocate of federal regulation of insurer solvency — will not seek re-election, his office said Monday.

Rep. Dingell, first elected to fill his late father's congressional seat in 1955, is the longest serving member of the House. In remarks prepared for his annual “State of the District” speech to the Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Rep. Dingell, who headed the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the 1980s and 1990s and then briefly again after the Democrats won control of the House in 2007, said he and his wife have discussed whether he should seek re-election every two years.

“My standards are high for this job,” he said in the prepared remarks. “I put myself to the test and have always known that when the time came that 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. That time has come.”

Rep. Dingell, age 87, will retire after completing his term when the current Congress ends.

He rocked the insurance industry in 1990 when the House Oversight and Investigations subcommittee that he chaired released its report “Failed Promises.” The report, which blasted the quality of state insurance regulation, rekindled the debate over what role, if any, the federal government should play in insurance regulation, which has traditionally been a province of the states.


He later introduced a bill to provide federal insurance solvency regulation, but it never was enacted. His 1994 follow-up report, “Wishful Thinking,” was no more complimentary to state regulation of insurance than his initial report. By then, significant portions of the insurance industry had endorsed the idea of federal solvency oversight for multistate insurers.

Rep. Dingell was an original co-sponsor of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.