Here are the full remarks of John D. Dingell (D-MI12) as prepared for delivery in his annual “State of the District” speech to the Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber of Commerce:

Greetings to all guests, those at the head table, distinguished guests, elected officials and friends.

 

What a great thing to be home amongst the people that Deborah and I love and have loved for so many years. This has been our home, full of loving friends and people whose goodness to all of us Dingells means so much.

We need to understand how blessed we are to be Americans, the richest, finest, most fortunate people in history. We need to criticize harshly those who do not brag of these facts and rejoice in our blessings.

And we need to love our country with great affection and intensity. Anyone doing less does disservice to themselves, the country, and their fellow Americans. Americans must change and they must insist that those who seek office and power do so. When that happens, things will start to turn for the better. We have much to be grateful for, and we owe it to ourselves, to each other, and to our fellow Americans to demand this of those seeking the privilege of power and office to make this change.

Too many office holders have rejected this and have refused to carry out their duty to the country, to each other, and to all of us, past, present, and future. Let us love our country. Our system, its blessings, its riches and the good it deserves and that it gives to each of us.

This Congress has been a great disappointment to everyone, members, media, citizens, and our country. Little has been done in this Congress, with 57 bills passed into law. That is not Heinz packaged varieties, it is the laws passed by the Congress.

There will be much blaming and finger pointing back and forth, but the Members share fault, much fault; the people share much fault, for encouraging a disregard of our country, our Congress, and our governmental system.

It is my hope that this session of Congress, on which we have now begun, will reflect on these important ideas and understand that we are all in this together.

No one can say to a fellow American, “Pardon me your end of the boat is sinking.” We narrowly saved the auto industry; it thrives today, turning out cars that are superb, and the wonder of the world

We narrowly escaped the Great Recession—note those words—I went through the Great Depression. There’s only a couple of letters difference in the two names, but a major difference in the impact on the country. But we saw a lot of hard work, and real bipartisan leadership by the then-outgoing Republican Secretary of Treasury; by Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, and by our then-incoming Secretary of Treasury, working together with President Obama and members of both parties to pass ARRA and TARP, and we may all thank God they did.

The economy is coming back. I hope you went to the Auto Show to see the extraordinary American Cars and see your fellow Americans taking pride in what we are doing together, showing the world just what we can do.

Let's be proud of our beloved country—what we have done, and what has been done for us by earlier Americans wiser than we. We have freedoms that are the wonder of the world and a standard of living that is envied by all.

So to be brief: let us work together. What unites us is far greater than what divides us. No President should have to tell a Congress that if that august body cannot do its task he will do it by executive order.

Congress means ‘a coming together.’ Look it up. It’s there in the dictionary. Let us share a few words and thoughts.

Compromise is an honorable word, as are cooperation, conciliation, and coordination. Let us recognize that our founding fathers intended that those words would be the way the business of our country would be conducted. Rights were given in the Constitution to be used well, to govern wisely, and to work together.

It worked on July 4, 1776, it worked in 1789, and we can—and should—work together today.

Much more needs to be done. Our infrastructure is crumbling, our tax laws are a confusing shamble, our election laws are a mess without rhyme or reason, and our people can see elections be stolen from them. A coming together is called for, and we must do it. No one else will do it for us.

The Congress must live up to its name. It must be a great coming together of our people.

We did temporarily avoid sequestration, as my colleagues and the country found that it was just too nasty for our government not to act. There is so much to be said for our beloved country, and at times we need to bring ourselves back on the path to greatness that the United States shared for centuries.

It is my belief that that is precisely what must be done to continue our economic recovery and move our country forward.

It was a sign of progress as my colleague Paul Ryan and Senator Patty Murray worked together on a budget compromise that helped to stave off many of the harmful cuts of the sequester, and returned a bit of certainty to our finances.

While this deal was in no way perfect, I found it to be an encouraging step towards returning to regular order and properly and securely funding our nation’s expenses in a fair and timely fashion.

For too long, bad politics has allowed this Congress to careen from one manufactured crisis to another, whether it’s a stubbornness to agree on a budget, a necessary raise of our debt ceiling, or any other matter that would restore certainty.