Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

Longest-serving members of Congress

1/
Unsplash

Longest-serving members of Congress

Unlike the constitutionally mandated, two-term limit for the office of the president of the United States, there are no term limits for members of Congress—so re-election is the only requirement for the senators and representatives who comprise the legislative branch of government.

Members of the 116th Congress have, on average, 8.6 years of service for the House and 10.1 years for the Senate, based on January 2019 data from the Congressional Research Service—but many officials represent their districts and states for much longer. The standing record for the most time served in Congress belongs to former Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), who spent more than 59 years in the U.S. House of Representatives between 1995 and 2015 and died Feb. 7, 2019, at 92 years old. 

Some argue for term limits for members of Congress, claiming this would prevent the development of deep relationships between politicians and lobbyists, limit the creation of a political class, and—according to Florida State University economists Randall Holcombe and Robert Gmeiner—help to slow government spending and taxes. 

Those who oppose term limits argue such restrictions take power away from voters, create governing bodies in which no one is inclined to build expertise, and push policymakers out the door regardless of their legislative acumen.

Advocates for term limits in 1990 began a concerted effort to amend state constitutions in order to implement term limits. Ballot initiatives led to 23 states approving congressional term limits by 1995. That year, in the landmark U.S. Term Limits, Inc., v. Thornton, the Supreme Court ruled that state-imposed term limits for Congress were unconstitutional and that such precedent could only be set via constitutional amendment.  

Using data provided by each of the chambers’ websites, Stacker created a gallery of the 49 longest-serving members of Congress in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. Members are ranked by the time they served (years and months) since they were elected to their current positions. Read on to find out which lawmakers have consistently cruised to re-election.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story included Rep. Elijah Cummings—he had been ranked #48 on a list of the 50 longest-serving members of Congress. A Democrat of Baltimore, Cummings served more than 23 years as a member of Congress up until the point of his death at age 68 on Oct. 17, 2019.

Read on to learn about the 49 longest-serving members of Congress. 

You may also like: Former jobs of every Supreme Court justice

2/
US House Office of Photography // Wikimedia Commons

#49. David Price

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 22 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1997)
- State or district serving: North Carolina 4

Rep. David Price first became a representative for North Carolina’s fourth district in 1986. He lost his bid for re-election in 1994 but was re-elected for every term since. Before being elected to Congress, Price was chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party and a professor at Duke University.

[Pictured: David Price Official 115th Congress Portrait, 2018]

3/
Chip Somodevilla // Getty Images

#48. Earl Blumenauer

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 23 years, 4 months (Since May 21, 1996)
- State or district serving: Oregon 3 

Rep. Earl Blumenauer made history as a college student when he led a campaign in Oregon to lower the voting age in his state. Blumenauer today is a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee, chairman of the subcommittee on trade, and member of the subcommittee on health.

[Pictured: Rep. Earl Blumenauer announcing the House Democrats' new infrastructure plan, 2018.]

4/
Ron Wyden // Flickr

#47. Ron Wyden

- Currently serving in: U.S. Senate
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 23 years, 7 months (Since Feb. 6, 1996)
- State or district serving: Oregon

Sen. Ron Wyden was born in 1949 to Jewish refugees who left Nazi Germany during World War II. He earned a law degree, and become an advocate for the elderly in his state. He won an election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1980 and was re-elected seven times before running for U.S. Senate. As a senator, Wyden has supported legalizing marijuana and opposed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

[Pictured: Senator Wyden at the Congressional Management Foundation Democracy Awards, 2018.]

5/
Chip Somodevilla // Getty Images

#42. Lloyd Doggett (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 24 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1995)
- State or district serving: Texas 35

As chairman of the subcommittee on health in the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Lloyd Doggett has fought to lower prescription drug prices and preserve seniors’ access to Medicare. During his tenure as a congressman, Doggett also successfully introduced a bill to establish the Commission to End Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities. Previously, he served in the Texas Senate, where he wrote 124 state laws.

[Pictured: Rep. Marcia Fudge and Rep. Lloyd Doggett arrive for a Democratic caucus meeting, 2018]

6/
SAUL LOEB/AFP // Getty Images

#42. Michael F. Doyle (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 24 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1995)
- State or district serving: Pennsylvania 18

Rep. Mike Doyle was the chief of staff for Sen. Frank Pecora before beginning his own career in politics. Today, he now serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee where he has worked to address climate change and restore net neutrality. Doyle also founded and chairs the Congressional Autism Caucus, the House Robotics Caucus, and the House Distributed Generation Caucus, which addresses fuel-efficient decentralized power generation technology.

[Pictured: US Representative Joe Barton (R), and US Representative Mike Doyle (L), 2017.]

7/
Alex Wong // Getty Images

#42. Sheila Jackson Lee (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 24 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1995)
- State or district serving: Texas 18

In her eleventh term in Congress, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is the first woman chair of the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on crime, terrorism, homeland security, and investigations. Lee in 2019 authored and introduced the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which passed the House. She also introduced the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant Reauthorization and Bullying Prevention and Intervention Act. 

[Pictured: U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee arrives at a House Democratic Caucus meeting, 2019.]

8/
Alex Wong // Getty Images

#42. Zoe Lofgren (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 24 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1995)
- State or district serving: California 19

Before she was elected to Congress, Rep. Zoe Lofgren taught and practiced immigration law and has focused on immigration during her time as a congresswoman. In 2010, she presided over the House of Representatives for passage of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, on which she played an instrumental role. Lofgren is chairwoman of the Committee on House Administration, as well as the California Democratic Congressional Delegation.

[Pictured: U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren speaks during a joint hearing, 2019.]

9/
Chip Somodevilla // Getty Images

#42. Mac Thornberry (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Republican
- Time served: 24 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1995)
- State or district serving: Texas 13

From 2015 to 2019, Rep. Mac Thornberry was the first Texan to serve as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee; he is now the ranking member. Before he was elected to the House of Representatives, Thornberry was an attorney in Amarillo, and served as deputy assistant secretary for legislative affairs in the U.S. Department of State under President Ronald Reagan.

[Pictured: Rep. Mac Thornberry speaks during a news conference with fellow GOP leaders, 2019.]

10/
Tom Brenner // Getty Images

#41. Jim Inhofe

- Currently serving in: U.S. Senate
- Party affiliation: Republican
- Time served: 24 years, 10 months (Since Nov. 17, 1994)
- State or district serving: Oklahoma

Sen. Jim Inhofe is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and has used his position to advocate for long-term reform of the U.S. Department of Defense. Inhofe also chaired the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. He is a pilot, and remains the only member of Congress to have flown a plane around the globe.  

[Pictured: Senator Jim Inhofe delivers remarks during the Weekly Senate Policy Luncheon Press Conferences, 2019.]

11/
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP // Getty Images

#40. Frank Lucas

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Republican
- Time served: 25 years, 4 months (Since May 10, 1994)
- State or district serving: Oklahoma 3

Rep. Frank Lucas represents 32 counties in Oklahoma, where his family lived for four generations before him. Lucas is the ranking member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and is a member of the House Committee on Financial Services. Before he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Lucas spent more than five years in the Oklahoma State House of Representatives, where he focused on agricultural issues.

[Pictured: Katherine Bouman (R) speaks with ranking member Frank Lucas before a House Committee, 2019.]

12/
JIM WATSON/AFP // Getty Images

#39. Bennie Thompson

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 26 years, 5 months (Since April 13, 1993)
- State or district serving: Mississippi 2

Rep. Bennie Thompson is the longest-serving African American elected official in Mississippi and the only Democrat in the Mississippi Congressional Delegation. He started his career in public service while still in college, where he organized voter registration drives for African Americans in the Mississippi Delta. He was elected mayor of his home town of Bolton in 1973, a position he held until 1980. During his time in Congress, Thompson authored a bill to create the National Center for Minority Health and Health Care Disparities, which was signed into law. He also served as the first Democratic chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

[Pictured: Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Bennie Thompson, 2019.]

13/
Chip Somodevilla // Getty Images

#26. Sanford Bishop (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 26 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1993)
- State or district serving: Georgia 2

Rep. Ken Calvert was a small business owner before he was elected to Congress. He is currently the ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee. Among his legislative priorities for the 116th Congress are to grow the U.S. economy, develop lasting solutions for California’s water shortages, and fund the Earthquake Early Warning System.

[Pictured: Rep. Sanford Bishop and Rep. Rosa DeLauro hear testimony from Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, 2017.]

14/
Chairman of the JCS // Flickr

#26. Ken Calvert (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Republican
- Time served: 26 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1993)
- State or district serving: California 42

Rep. Ken Calvert was a small business owner before he was elected to Congress. He is currently the ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee. Among his legislative priorities for the 116th Congress are to grow the U.S. economy, develop lasting solutions for California’s water shortages, and fund the Earthquake Early Warning System.

[Pictured: Rep. Ken Calvert speaks with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, 2017.]

15/
Drew Angerer // Getty Images

#26. Jim Clyburn (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 26 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1993)
- State or district serving: South Carolina 6

Rep. Jim Clyburn is the third-ranking House Democrat. He has an extensive background advocating for the rights of black Americans, and even met his late wife, Emily, in the 1960s while they were both in jail for taking part in a civil rights demonstration. As a member of Congress from South Carolina, Clyburn has led efforts to revitalize historic sites on campuses of historically black colleges and universities, and successfully authored legislation to create the Reconstruction Era National Monument in his home state.

[Pictured: (L-R) Sen. Bernie Sanders looks on as Rep. James Clyburn speaks during a press conference, 2019]

16/
Chip Somodevilla // Getty Images

#26. Anna Eshoo (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 26 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1993)
- State or district serving: California 18

Rep. Anna Eshoo started her career in politics on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, where she served for 10 years. Today, Eshoo is the first chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on health. As a member of the health subcommittee, Eshoo drafted elements of the Affordable Care Act. She also worked on the Telecommunications Act of 1996. 

[Pictured: Rep. Anna Eshoo during a news conference with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, 2019.]

17/
Win McNamee/Getty Images

#26. Alcee Hastings (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 26 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1993)
- State or district serving: Florida 20

Before he was elected to Congress, Rep. Alcee “Judge” Hastings was an attorney, civil rights activist, and a judge (the latter of which led to his nickname). In 1979, Hastings became the first African American federal judge in Florida, and his election to the House of Representatives made him the first African American from Florida since the post-Civil War era. Today, Hastings chairs the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. 

[Pictured: Rep. Alcee Hastings speaks during a debate at a committee meeting July 29, 2014.]

18/
Chip Somodevilla // Getty Images

#26. Eddie Bernice Johnson (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 26 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1993)
- State or district serving: Texas 30

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson is the first African American and the first woman to chair the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and is the first nurse to be elected to Congress. Before she made congressional history, Johnson was the first female African American chief psychiatric nurse at Dallas V.A. Medical Center. During her 14 terms as a congresswoman, Johnson has authored and co-authored more than 177 bills that subsequently were signed into law.

[Pictured: (L-R) Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Dr. Christine Darden, Carolyn Lewis, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Maida Robinson and Joylette Hylick, 2019]

19/
Zach Gibson // Getty Images

#26. Peter T. King (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Republican
- Time served: 26 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1993)
- State or district serving: New York 2

Rep. Peter King is the former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, where he held several hearings on Islam radicalization ties to terrorism. After Hurricane Sandy hit the Atlantic coast in 2012, King successfully led an effort in Congress to obtain $60.4 billion in emergency funding for victims. Before he was elected to Congress, King worked as an attorney and served as comptroller of Nassau County.

[Pictured: Rep. Peter King testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, 2019.]

20/
Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Women's Forum of New York

#26. Carolyn Maloney (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 26 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1993)
- State or district serving: New York 12

Rep. Carolyn Maloney has authored and passed more than 70 measures, including 10 that were signed into law at presidential signing ceremonies. Maloney is the first woman to represent her district and was the first woman to chair the Joint Economic Committee. She also co-founded the House 9/11 Commission Caucus, which has worked to implement recommendations to improve intelligence gathering.

[Pictured: Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (L) and Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (R) attend The 9th Annual Elly Awards, 2019.]

21/
U.S. Customs and Border Protection // Flickr

#26. Lucille Roybal-Allard (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 26 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1993)
- State or district serving: California 40

As the first Mexican American woman elected to Congress, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard co-authored The DREAM Act, which allows certain immigrants who were raised in the United States to become lawful permanent residents. Roybal-Allard is chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Appropriations subcommittee, where she continues to push for immigration reform and investments in the U.S. Coast Guard. 

[Pictured: Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard asks questions of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan, 2018.]

22/
Alex Wong // Getty Images

#26. Bobby Rush (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 26 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1993)
- State or district serving: Illinois 1

Before he was elected to Congress, Rep. Bobby Rush served in the U.S. Army and founded the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party—all while creating a free medical clinic in Chicago. As a congressman, Rush served as a member of the U.S. delegation to the North Atlantic Assembly and as a member of the House Committee on Commerce. In 1999, he ran for mayor of Chicago but lost.

[Pictured: Rep. Bobby Rush after speaking at a news conference on gun control, 2016.]

23/
U.S. Air Force

#26. Bobby Scott (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 26 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1993)
- State or district serving: Virginia 3

Rep. Bobby Scott made history with his election to the U.S. House of Representatives, which made him the first African American elected to Congress from Virginia since Reconstruction. Scott is also the first person of Filipino ancestry to serve as a voting member of Congress. Before he was elected to Congress, Scott served in the Virginia House of Delegates and the state’s Senate. 

[Pictured: Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott arrives at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, 2019.]

24/
Zach Gibson // Getty Images

#26. Nydia Velázquez (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 26 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1993)
- State or district serving: New York 7

Rep. Nydia Velázquez was the first Puerto Rican woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2006, she became the first Hispanic woman to chair a full congressional committee when she was named chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee. Velázquez was born in Puerto Rico and moved to New York to earn her master’s degree. In 1984, she became the first Latina to serve on the New York City Council. 

[Pictured: Rep. Nydia Velázquez speaks during a House Small Business Committee hearing, 2018.]

25/
Senate Democrats // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Patty Murray (tie)

- Currently serving in: U.S. Senate
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 26 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1993)
- State or district serving: Washington

Not only was Sen. Patty Murray the first woman senator from Washington State, but she was also the first woman to chair the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee as well as the Senate Budget Committee. Murray became politically active in the 1980s when she fought to save a local pre-school program caught in the crosshairs of state budget cuts; Murray was soon after elected to the Shoreline School Board. In her election to the U.S. Senate, Murray beat out a 10-year veteran of the House of Representatives. 

[Pictured: Rep. Patty Murray, 2019.]

26/
Rob Kim // Getty Images for the Recording Academy

#24. Jerrold Nadler (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 26 years, 10 months (Since Nov. 3, 1992)
- State or district serving: New York 10

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold “Jerry” Nadler got into politics in 1976 as a New York assemblyman while attending law school at night. He first was elected to Congress via a special election in 1992 but has since been reelected to 14 terms. Nadler was a key opponent of the Defense of Marriage Act, which sought to prevent people from marrying those of the same sex, and was one of only six members of the House to oppose the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because it did not enact protections for the transgender community. 

[Pictured: District Advocates meet with Rep. Jerry Nadler in New York City, 2019.]

27/
Mark Wilson // Getty Images

#24. Dianne Feinstein (tie)

- Currently serving in: U.S. Senate
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 26 years, 10 months (Since Nov. 10, 1992)
- State or district serving: California

Sen. Dianne Feinstein was the first woman to serve as a senator from California and was the first woman mayor of San Francisco, from 1978 to 1988. She was also the first woman president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and, after being elected to Congres, the first woman to serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee. She later became the first woman senator to chair both the Senate Rules and Administration Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence. 

[Pictured: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, speaks during a memorial service at the Washington National Cathedral, 2019.]

28/
Joe Raedle // Getty Images

#21. Rosa DeLauro (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 28 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1991)
- State or district serving: Connecticut 3

Rep. Rosa DeLauro was the first executive director of EMILY’s List, an organization working to help women get elected to public office. Later, DeLauro was executive director of a national campaign that successfully halted U.S. military aid to the contras in Nicaragua. As a congresswoman, DeLauro is co-chair of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and chairs the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations subcommittee.

[Pictured: Rep. Rosa DeLauro leaving an oversight visit of the Homestead Influx Facility for unaccompanied children, 2019.]

29/
Tom Brenner // Getty Images

#21. Collin Peterson (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 28 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1991)
- State or district serving: Minnesota 7

As chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, Rep. Collin Peterson has pushed an effort to promote biofuels and led Congress to pass the 2008 Farm Bill, which maintained protections for farmers while investing in food and conservation programs. Peterson is also a musician who has performed with Willie Nelson and other members of Congress at the Grand Ole Opry. He has formed and played in a number of congressional rock bands, including The Amendments and The Second Amendments.

[Pictured: Rep. Collin Peterson delivers remarks during a rally for the passage of the USMCA trade agreement, 2019.]

30/
Gage Skidmore // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Maxine Waters (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 28 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1991)
- State or district serving: California 43

Rep. Maxine Waters was just 13 when she started working in factories and segregated restaurants. Today, she is the first woman and first African American chair of the House Financial Services Committee. Before being elected to Congress, Waters served for 14 years in the California State Assembly and was an outspoken leader in the movement to end apartheid in South Africa.

[Pictured: U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters speaking with attendees at the California Democratic Party State Convention, California, 2019.]

31/
Pete Marovich // Getty Images

#20. José E. Serrano

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 29 years, 6 months (Since March 20, 1990)
- State or district serving: New York 15

Rep. José Serrano was first elected to Congress in a special election. Today, he chairs a House Appropriations subcommittee on commerce, justice, and science. Serrano announced in March 2019 that he has Parkinson’s disease and will not seek re-election in 2020. “Although this disease has not affected my work in Congress, over the last few months I’ve come to the realization that Parkinson’s will eventually take a toll, and that I cannot predict its rate of advancement,” he said in a statement at the time.

[Pictured: Rep. José Serrano questions Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham, 2019.]

32/
Alex Wong // Getty Images

#17. Eliot Engel (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 30 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1989)
- State or district serving: New York 16

Rep. Eliot Engel is a Bronx native who served in the New York Assembly for more than a decade before being elected to Congress. Engel currently chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee and is the founder and co-chair of the House Oil and National Security Caucus. Before becoming involved in politics, Engel was a guidance counselor and teacher in New York City.

[Pictured: Rep. Eliot Engel arrives at a House Democratic Caucus meeting, 2019.]

33/
U.S. Customs and Border Protection // Flickr

#17. Nita Lowey (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 30 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1989)
- State or district serving: New York 17

While Rep. Nita Lowey has served in Congress for 30 years, she has only represented New York’s 17th congressional district since 2013. Previously, she represented the 18th and 20th congressional districts in New York. Lowey is the first woman to chair the House Appropriations Committee, and in 2001, she was the first woman to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. On Oct. 10, 2019, she announced she would not seek re-election.

[Pictured: Rep. Nita Lowey asks questions of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan, 2018.]

34/
Chip Somodevilla // Getty Images

#17. Richard Neal (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 30 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1989)
- State or district serving: Massachusetts 1 

Rep. Richard Neal is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, where he presides over issues involving taxes, trade, Social Security, and Medicare. Before he was elected to Congress, Neal was the mayor of Springfield, Mass., and was a high school history teacher. In addition to being a congressman, Neal also teaches at the University of Massachusetts and is a national trustee at Boston’s Kennedy Library. 

[Pictured: House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal talks to reporters before leaving the U.S. Capitol Building, 2019.]

35/
Chip Somodevilla // Getty Images

#16. Frank Pallone

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 30 years, 10 months (Since Nov. 8, 1988)
- State or district serving: New Jersey 6

Rep. Frank Pallone is currently serving his sixteenth term in Congress, where he chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Pallone helped lead the fight against the opioid epidemic in the House of Representatives, including efforts to pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016. Pallone fought to secure an additional $1 billion to combat the epidemic in the 21st Century Cures Act, also passed in 2016.

[Pictured: Rep. Frank Pallone speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol, 2019.]

36/
Gage Skidmore // Flickr

#15. Nancy Pelosi

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 32 years, 3 months (Since June 2, 1987)
- State or district serving: California 12

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2007 became the first woman to serve as speaker of the House, where she was instrumental in leading President Barack Obama’s efforts to reform the healthcare system and pass a $787 billion stimulus package during the height of the financial crisis in 2009. This past January, when Pelosi was again elected speaker after Democrats gained a majority in the House in the midterm elections, she became the first person in more than 60 years to serve non-consecutive terms as speaker.

[Pictured: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaking with attendees at the California Democratic Party State Convention, 2019.]

37/
Chip Somodevilla // Getty Images

#11. Peter DeFazio (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 32 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1987)
- State or district serving: Oregon 4

Rep. Peter DeFazio is the longest-serving House representative in Oregon’s history. Throughout his tenure, DeFazio has served as a member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and as chair or ranking member on four of that committee’s six subcommittees. DeFazio uses his pay raises to fund scholarships at community colleges in Oregon, and as of early 2019 had given more than $437,000 to 270 scholarships.

[Pictured: Rep. Peter DeFazio delivers opening remarks during a hearing about the Boeing 737 MAX airplane on Capitol Hill, 2019.]

38/
Paul R. Giunta // Getty Images

#11. John Lewis (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 32 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1987)
- State or district serving: Georgia 5

As a leading figure of the Civil Rights Movement, Rep. John Lewis organized sit-in lunch counter demonstrations in Nashville, Tenn., participated in the Freedom Rides, and led more than 600 protesters in Selma, Ala., in a march for African American voting rights. Despite that march ending in violence, Lewis became a national figure as an advocate for peaceful protests. He was elected to the Atlanta City Council in 1981; five years later, he was elected to Congress. 

[Pictured: Rep. John Lewis attends Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala, 2019.]

39/
Alex Wong // Getty Images

#11. Fred Upton (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Republican
- Time served: 32 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1987)
- State or district serving: Michigan 6

Before he was elected to Congress, Rep. Fred Upton worked in the Office of Management and Budget during the Reagan administration. From 2010 to 2016, Upton chaired the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, where he led the committee in the passage of 354 legislative measures—202 of which were subsequently signed into law. In 2014, Upton co-launched the 21st Century Cures initiative, which focuses on obtaining resources to develop life-saving cures.

[Pictured: Rep. Fred Upton and other guests at an event highlighting the opioid crisis in the U.S., 2017.]

40/
Chairman of the JCS // Flickr

#11. Richard Shelby (tie)

- Currently serving in: U.S. Senate
- Party affiliation: Republican
- Time served: 32 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1987)
- State or district serving: Alabama

Sen. Richard Shelby was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat in 1986. But a day after the midterm elections in November 1994, in which Republicans gained control of both chambers of Congress, Shelby announced he was joining the Republican Party. He notably did not side with fellow Republicans during the Bush administration’s bailout of financial institutions during the Great Recession in 2008.

[Pictured: Senator Richard Shelby poses a question to Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, 2018.]

41/
U.S. Army

#9. Pete Visclosky (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 34 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1985)
- State or district serving: Indiana 1

A lifelong resident of northwest Indiana, Democratic Rep. Pete Visclosky chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense appropriations and is a member of the subcommittee on energy and water. As a congressman, Visclosky has pushed for investments in infrastructure in his district and expanding the South Shore Rail Line.

[Pictured: Rep. Pete Visclosky speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony, 2019.]

42/
Win McNamee // Getty Images

#9. Mitch McConnell (tie)

- Currently serving in: U.S. Senate
- Party affiliation: Republican
- Time served: 34 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1985)
- State or district serving: Kentucky

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell started his political career in 1977 when he was elected judge-executive of Jefferson County. Seven years later, he won his seat in the U.S. Senate. As the minority leader in the Senate, he became known for his efforts to block President Barack Obama’s legislative efforts, and he became Senate majority leader when Republicans regained control of the chamber in 2014.

[Pictured: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell answers questions from the media, 2019.]

43/
Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur // Flickr

#8. Marcy Kaptur

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 36 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1983)
- State or district serving: Ohio 9

Rep. Marcy Kaptur is the longest-serving woman in the history of the U.S. House of Representatives and the first woman to chair the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. Kaptur previously worked as a policy adviser to President Jimmy Carter, where she helped pass 17 bills on housing. She also worked for 15 years as a city and regional planner in her home state. Kaptur in October 2019 expressed her interest in being considered for chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee in light of the recently announced retirement of current chairwoman and New York Rep. Nita Lowey.

[Pictured: Rep. Marcy Kaptur and colleagues call on President to visit areas impacted by GM closures, 2018.]

44/
Zach Gibson // Getty Images

#7. Steny Hoyer

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 38 years, 4 months (Since May 19, 1981)
- State or district serving: Maryland 5

Rep. Steny Hoyer is the current House majority leader and longest-serving member of the House from Maryland in U.S. history. Among Hoyer’s legislative achievements are leading the fight to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 and his work on the Help America Vote Act in 2002. Before being elected to Congress, he was the youngest-ever president of the Maryland Senate, where he served from 1975 to 1978.

[Pictured: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer attends an observance, 2019.]

45/
Chip Somodevilla // Getty Images

#4. Hal Rogers (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Republican
- Time served: 38 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1981)
- State or district serving: Kentucky 5

In his 20th term as a congressman, Rep. Hal Rogers is the longest-serving Kentucky Republican to ever hold federal public office. He has served on the House Appropriations Committee for more than 30 years and chaired the committee from 2011 to 2016 with a focus on curtailing government spending. As chairman, he held 650 oversight hearings and deliberated more than 2,000 amendments to appropriations bills. 

[Pictured: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) greets Rep. Hal Roger, 2019.]

46/
Anna Moneymaker // Getty Images

#4. Chuck Grassley (tie)

- Currently serving in: U.S. Senate
- Party affiliation: Republican
- Time served: 38 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1981)
- State or district serving: Iowa

Sen. Chuck Grassley is currently the Senate president pro tempore, which means he is third in the line of presidential succession. Grassley was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee for four years and oversaw the appointment and Senate confirmation of 85 federal judges, including two U.S. Supreme Court justices, and in 2018 helped to pass the bipartisan criminal justice reform bill First Step Act. Grassley hasn’t missed a vote since 1993, earning him the distinction of having the longest consecutive voting streak in the history of the U.S. Senate.

[Pictured: Senator Chuck Grassley speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, 2019.]

47/
Larry French/Getty Images

#4. Chris Smith (tie)

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Republican
- Time served: 38 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 4, 1981)
- State or district serving: New Jersey 4

Rep. Chris Smith ranks second out of all members of the House Representatives in the past two decades for the number of laws authored. He wrote the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005, which established a national program for stem cell research using umbilical cords and bone marrow cells. That law was reauthorized in 2010 and 2015. In 2018, following two years of deliberation, his bill to hold ISIS accountable for its violent crimes and provide victims with humanitarian relief was signed into law.

[Pictured: Rep. Chris Smith speaks at an event at the Russell Senate Office Building, 2014.]

48/
Mark Wilson // Getty Images

#3. Jim Sensenbrenner

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Republican
- Time served: 40 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1979)
- State or district serving: Wisconsin 5

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner is perhaps most well-known for authoring the Patriot Act in 2001 to provide law enforcement with the tools to combat terrorist threats. Sensenbrenner also wrote the USA Freedom Act, signed into law in 2015, to build on and clarify components of the Patriot Act. Additionally, he helped pass the Child Abduction Prevention Act of 2003, which bolstered the Amber Alert system and gave law enforcement greater capabilities to protect children.

[Pictured: Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R) and Rep. Doug Collins (L) listen to remarks during a House Judiciary Committee markup vote, 2019.]

49/
win McNamee // Getty Images

#2. Patrick Leahy

- Currently serving in: U.S. Senate
- Party affiliation: Democratic
- Time served: 44 years, 8 months (Since Jan. 3, 1975)
- State or district serving: Vermont

Sen. Patrick Leahy was the youngest U.S. senator ever to be elected from Vermont when he first won the office in 1974 at age 34. Before running for Congress, he worked for eight years as State’s Attorney in Chittenden County. Leahy led the Senate’s negotiations for the 2001 Patriot Act and wrote checks and balances into the bill. Today, he is vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a fierce advocate for human rights issues.

[Pictured: Sen. Patrick Leahy asks U.S. Attorney General William Barr questions during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, 2019.]

50/
Pete Marovich // Getty Images

#1. Don Young

- Currently serving in: House of Representatives
- Party affiliation: Republican
- Time served: 46 years, 6 months (Since March 6, 1973)
- State or district serving: Alaska at-large

Rep. Don Young is the dean of the House of Representatives and the longest-serving member of Congress, having been elected for 24 terms. Before he ran for Congress, the Alaskan served in the Army, worked in construction and commercial fishing, and taught a fifth-grade class in a school built out of logs. Young was a leader in pushing for approval of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline and has called that the most important achievement of his career.

[Pictured: Rep. Don Young reads over an amendment he plans to offer to the National Defense Authorization Act, 2017]

You may also like: Former jobs of every Supreme Court justice

2018 All rights reserved.