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Rep. Dingell: ‘Refusal to Compromise’ One of Biggest Changes in 57 Years

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Speaking this morning on This Week, Democratic Rep. John Dingell of Michigan — who is poised to become the longest serving member of Congress on June 7 — 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.”

Dingell, who has cast over 25,000 votes over the course of his career in Congress, said his most important vote was for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It was a vote that almost cost him his job, he said.

“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.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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