List of members of the United States Congress by longevity of service

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This is a list of United States congresspersons by longevity of service. It includes those Representatives and Senators who have served at least 36 years. It is divided up into several categories.

In cases where there is a tie in time the following criteria will sort people higher:

  1. Achieved time uninterrupted (total tenure rank only)
  2. Achieved time first
  3. Senators over representatives (House and Senate list only)
  4. Senate or House seniority (Dan Rostenkowski versus Neal Edward Smith)

The lists include eleven currently serving members: John Conyers, Charles B. Rangel, Thad Cochran, Don Young, Patrick Leahy, Chuck Grassley, Ed Markey, Orrin Hatch, Barbara Mikulski, Richard Shelby, and Jim Sensenbrenner. It includes twenty-three former members who are still alive: Daniel Akaka, Max Baucus, Joe Biden, William Broomfield, Norm Dicks, John Dingell, Christopher Dodd, Pete Domenici, Tom Harkin, Ernest Hollings, Dale Kildee, Carl Levin, Richard Lugar, Joseph M. McDade, Robert H. Michel, George Miller, Dave Obey, Nick Rahall, Ralph Regula, Paul Sarbanes, Neal Edward Smith, Pete Stark, and Henry Waxman.

Key[edit]

In gold Currently serving
H Served in House (only for House and Senate combined categories)
S Served in Senate (only for House and Senate combined categories)
I Interruptions in service (only for total tenure categories)

Combined House and Senate time[edit]

Total tenure
rank
Uninterrupted
rank
Name Party affiliation Total tenure Uninterrupted tenure Reason for leaving
1 1 John Dingell (H) Democratic 59 years, 21 days 59 years, 21 days Retired
2 2 Robert Byrd (H,S) Democratic 57 years, 176 days 57 years, 176 days Died
3 3 Carl Hayden (H,S) Democratic 56 years, 319 days 56 years, 319 days Retired
4 4 Daniel Inouye (H,S) Democratic 53 years, 118 days 53 years, 118 days Died
5 5 Jamie L. Whitten (H) Democratic 53 years, 60 days 53 years, 60 days Retired
6 6 John Conyers (H) Democratic 51 years, 271 days 51 years, 271 days
7 7 Carl Vinson (H) Democratic 50 years, 61 days 50 years, 61 days Retired
8 8 Emanuel Celler (H) Democratic 49 years, 305 days 49 years, 305 days Lost renomination
9 9 Sam Rayburn (H) Democratic 48 years, 257 days 48 years, 257 days Died
10 999 Sidney R. Yates (H,I) Democratic 48 years, 0 days n/a Retired
11 12 Strom Thurmond (S,I) Republican 47 years, 159 days 46 years, 57 days Retired
12 10 Wright Patman (H) Democratic 47 years, 3 days 47 years, 3 days Died
13 11 Ted Kennedy (S) Democratic 46 years, 292 days 46 years, 292 days Died
14 999 Joseph Gurney Cannon (H,I) Republican 46 years, 0 days n/a Retired
15 13 Charles B. Rangel (H) Democratic 45 years, 271 days 45 years, 271 days
15 14 Adolph J. Sabath (H) Democratic 45 years, 247 days 45 years, 247 days Died
17 15 J. Lister Hill (H,S) Democratic 45 years, 142 days 45 years, 142 days Retired
18 16 George H. Mahon (H) Democratic 44 years, 0 days 44 years, 0 days Retired
19 17 Warren Magnuson (H,S) Democratic 44 years, 0 days 44 years, 0 days Defeated
20 18 Charles Edward Bennett (H) Democratic 44 years, 0 days 44 years, 0 days Retired
21 19 Justin Smith Morrill (H,S) Republican 43 years, 299 days 43 years, 299 days Died
22 20 Thad Cochran (H,S) Republican 43 years, 271 days 43 years, 271 days
23 21 Don Young (H) Republican 43 years, 208 days 43 years, 208 days
24 999 William B. Allison (H,S,I) Republican 43 years, 152 days n/a Died
25 22 Charles Melvin Price (H) Democratic 43 years, 110 days 43 years, 110 days Died
26 23 Bill Young (H) Republican 42 years, 288 days 42 years, 288 days Died
27 24 Henry M. Jackson (H,S) Democratic 42 years, 241 days 42 years, 241 days Died
28 999 Carter Glass (H,S,I) Democratic 42 years, 157 days n/a Died
29 25 John William McCormack (H) Democratic 42 years, 58 days 42 years, 58 days Retired
30 26 John Sparkman (H,S) Democratic 42 years, 0 days 42 years, 0 days Retired
31 27 William R. Poage (H) Democratic 42 years, 0 days 42 years, 0 days Retired
32 28 Jack Brooks (H) Democratic 42 years, 0 days 42 years, 0 days Defeated
33 29 Robert L. Doughton (H) Democratic 41 years, 305 days 41 years, 305 days Retired
34 30 Joseph William Martin, Jr. (H) Republican 41 years, 305 days 41 years, 305 days Lost renomination
35 31 Dave Obey (H) Democratic 41 years, 276 days 41 years, 276 days Retired
36 32 Patrick Leahy (S) Democratic 41 years, 271 days 41 years, 271 days
37 33 Chuck Grassley (H,S) Republican 41 years, 271 days 41 years, 271 days
38 34 Clarence Cannon (H) Democratic 41 years, 69 days 41 years, 69 days Retired
39 35 John C. Stennis (S) Democratic 41 years, 59 days 41 years, 59 days Retired
40 36 Kenneth McKellar (H,S) Democratic 41 years, 30 days 41 years, 30 days Lost renomination
41 37 William Huston Natcher (H) Democratic 40 years, 240 days 40 years, 240 days Died
42 999 Claude Pepper (H,S,I) Democratic 40 years, 207 days n/a Died
43 38 William P. Frye (H,S) Republican 40 years, 157 days 40 years, 157 days Died
44 39 Ted Stevens (S) Republican 40 years, 10 days 40 years, 10 days Defeated
45 40 Carl Curtis (H,S) Republican 40 years, 0 days 40 years, 0 days Retired
46 41 Peter W. Rodino (H) Democratic 40 years, 0 days 40 years, 0 days Retired
47 42 Pete Stark (H) Democratic 40 years, 0 days 40 years, 0 days Defeated
48 43 Tom Harkin (H,S) Democratic 40 years, 0 days 40 years, 0 days Retired
49 44 George Miller (H) Democratic 40 years, 0 days 40 years, 0 days Retired
50 45 Henry Waxman (H) Democratic 40 years, 0 days 40 years, 0 days Retired
51 999 Jennings Randolph (H,S,I) Democratic 39 years, 364 days n/a Retired
52 999 Eugene Hale (H,S,I) Republican 39 years, 363 days n/a Retired
53 46 Leslie C. Arends (H) Republican 39 years, 362 days 39 years, 362 days Retired
54 47 Daniel A. Reed (H) Republican 39 years, 352 days 39 years, 352 days Died
55 48 Ed Markey (H,S) Democratic 39 years, 333 days 39 years, 333 days
56 49 George William Norris (H,S) Republican 39 years, 305 days 39 years, 305 days Defeated
57 50 John Taber (H) Republican 39 years, 305 days 39 years, 305 days Retired
58 51 William M. Colmer (H) Democratic 39 years, 305 days 39 years, 305 days Retired
59 52 Orrin Hatch (S) Republican 39 years, 271 days 39 years, 271 days
60 53 Barbara Mikulski (H,S) Democratic 39 years, 271 days 39 years, 271 days
61 54 Max Baucus (H,S) Democratic 39 years, 34 days 39 years, 34 days Appointed Ambassador to China
62 999 Samuel Smith (H,S,I) Democratic 39 years, 9 days n/a Retired
63 999 John Little McClellan (H,S,I) Democratic 38 years, 329 days n/a Died
64 55 Morris Sheppard (H,S) Democratic 38 years, 145 days 38 years, 145 days Died
65 56 Ernest Hollings (S) Democratic 38 years, 55 days 38 years, 55 days Retired
66 57 Richard Russell, Jr. (S) Democratic 38 years, 9 days 38 years, 9 days Died
67 999 John Sherman (H,S,I) Republican 38 years, 4 days n/a Appointed Secretary of the Treasury &
Appointed Secretary of State
68 58 Russell B. Long (S) Democratic 38 years, 3 days 38 years, 3 days Retired
69 59 Frederick H. Gillett (H,S) Republican 38 years, 0 days 38 years, 0 days Retired
70 60 Wilbur Mills (H) Democratic 38 years, 0 days 38 years, 0 days Retired
71 61 Dante Fascell (H) Democratic 38 years, 0 days 38 years, 0 days Retired
72 62 Robert H. Michel (H) Republican 38 years, 0 days 38 years, 0 days Retired
73 63 Nick Rahall (H) Democratic 38 years, 0 days 38 years, 0 days Defeated
74 999 Robert Crosser (H,I) Democratic 37 years, 305 days n/a Lost renomination
75 999 Robert L. F. Sikes (H,I) Democratic 37 years, 290 days n/a Retired
76 64 Richard Shelby (H,S) Republican 37 years, 271 days 37 years, 271 days
77 65 Jim Sensenbrenner (H) Republican 37 years, 271 days 37 years, 271 days
78 66 Nathaniel Macon (H,S) Democratic-Republican 37 years, 255 days 37 years, 255 days Resigned
79 67 Henry Cabot Lodge (H,S) Republican 37 years, 250 days 37 years, 250 days Died
80 999 Alben W. Barkley (H,S,I) Democratic 37 years, 74 days n/a Elected Vice President and Died
81 68 Henry B. Gonzalez (H) Democratic 37 years, 60 days 37 years, 60 days Retired
82 999 Francis E. Warren (S,I) Republican 37 years, 6 days n/a Died
83 999 James Eastland (S,I) Democratic 36 years, 83 days n/a Resigned
84 69 Joe Biden (S) Democratic 36 years, 12 days 36 years, 12 days Elected Vice President
85 70 John Murtha (H) Democratic 36 years, 3 days 36 years, 3 days Died
86 71 Henry L. Dawes (H,S) Republican 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days Retired
87 72 Felix Edward Hébert (H) Democratic 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days Retired
88 73 Edward Boland (H) Democratic 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days Retired
89 74 William Broomfield (H) Republican 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days Retired
90 75 Dan Rostenkowski (H) Democratic 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days Defeated
91 76 Neal Edward Smith (H) Democratic 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days Defeated
92 77 Claiborne Pell (S) Democratic 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days Retired
93 78 Joseph M. McDade (H) Republican 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days Retired
94 79 Paul Sarbanes (H,S) Democratic 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days Retired
95 80 Pete Domenici (S) Republican 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days Retired
96 81 Ralph Regula (H) Republican 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days Retired
97 82 Christopher Dodd (H,S) Democratic 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days Retired
98 83 Jim Oberstar (H) Democratic 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days Defeated
99 84 Richard Lugar (S) Republican 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days Lost renomination
100 85 Daniel Akaka (H,S) Democratic 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days Retired
101 86 Norm Dicks (H) Democratic 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days Retired
102 87 Dale Kildee (H) Democratic 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days Retired
103 88 Carl Levin (S) Democratic 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days Retired
104 999 Shelby Moore Cullom (H,S,I) Republican 36 years, 0 days n/a Retired

Senate time[edit]

The 90th Congress was notable because for a period of 10 days (December 24, 1968 – January 3, 1969), it contained within its Senate all 10 of the longest-serving senators in history until January 7, 2013, when Patrick Leahy surpassed Russell B. Long as the 10th longest-serving senator in history. This period stretched from the installation of Ted Stevens of Alaska after his appointment to fill a vacancy to the retirement of Carl Hayden of Arizona early the next year.

The 96th Congress was the period in which most people from this list were serving together (all but Hayden, Russell Jr., Warren and Eastland).

Total tenure
rank
Uninterrupted
rank
Name State represented Dates of service Total tenure Uninterrupted tenure
1 1 Robert Byrd West Virginia January 3, 1959 – June 28, 2010 51 years, 176 days 51 years, 176 days
2 2 Daniel Inouye Hawaii January 3, 1963 – December 17, 2012 49 years, 349 days 49 years, 349 days
3 4 Strom Thurmond (I) South Carolina December 24, 1954 – April 7, 1956
November 7, 1956 – January 3, 2003
47 years, 159 days 46 years, 57 days
4 3 Ted Kennedy Massachusetts November 7, 1962 – August 25, 2009 46 years, 292 days 46 years, 292 days
5 5 Carl Hayden Arizona March 4, 1927 – January 3, 1969 41 years, 305 days 41 years, 305 days
6 6 Patrick Leahy Vermont Since January 3, 1975 41 years, 271 days 41 years, 271 days
7 7 John C. Stennis Mississippi November 7, 1947 – January 3, 1989 41 years, 59 days 41 years, 59 days
8 8 Ted Stevens Alaska December 24, 1968 – January 3, 2009 40 years, 10 days 40 years, 10 days
9 9 Orrin Hatch Utah Since January 3, 1977 39 years, 271 days 39 years, 271 days
10 10 Ernest Hollings South Carolina November 8, 1966 – January 3, 2005 38 years, 55 days 38 years, 55 days
11 11 Richard Russell, Jr. Georgia January 12, 1933 – January 21, 1971 38 years, 9 days 38 years, 9 days
12 12 Russell B. Long Louisiana December 31, 1948 – January 3, 1987 38 years, 3 days 38 years, 3 days
13 13 Thad Cochran Mississippi Since December 27, 1978 37 years, 278 days 37 years, 278 days
14 999 Francis E. Warren (I) Wyoming November 18, 1890 – March 4, 1893
March 4, 1895 – November 24, 1929
37 years, 6 days n/a
15 999 James Eastland (I) Mississippi June 30 – September 28, 1941
January 3, 1943 – December 27, 1978
36 years, 83 days n/a
16 14 Warren Magnuson Washington December 14, 1944 – January 3, 1981 36 years, 20 days 36 years, 20 days
17 15 Joe Biden Delaware January 3, 1973 – January 15, 2009 36 years, 12 days 36 years, 12 days
18 16 Claiborne Pell Rhode Island January 3, 1961 – January 3, 1997 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days
19 17 Pete Domenici New Mexico January 3, 1973 – January 3, 2009 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days
20 18 Richard Lugar Indiana January 3, 1977 – January 3, 2013 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days
21 19 Carl Levin Michigan January 3, 1979 – January 3, 2015 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days

House time[edit]

Total tenure
rank
Uninterrupted
rank
Name Total tenure Uninterrupted tenure
1 1 John Dingell 59 years, 21 days 59 years, 21 days
2 2 Jamie L. Whitten 53 years, 60 days 53 years, 60 days
3 3 John Conyers 51 years, 271 days 51 years, 271 days
4 4 Carl Vinson 50 years, 61 days 50 years, 61 days
5 5 Emanuel Celler 49 years, 305 days 49 years, 305 days
6 6 Sam Rayburn 48 years, 257 days 48 years, 257 days
7 999 Sidney R. Yates (I) 48 years, 0 days n/a
8 7 Wright Patman 47 years, 3 days 47 years, 3 days
9 999 Joseph Gurney Cannon (I) 46 years, 0 days n/a
10 8 Charles B. Rangel 45 years, 271 days 45 years, 271 days
11 9 Adolph J. Sabath 45 years, 247 days 45 years, 247 days
12 10 George H. Mahon 44 years, 0 days 44 years, 0 days
13 11 Charles Edward Bennett 44 years, 0 days 44 years, 0 days
14 12 Don Young 43 years, 208 days 43 years, 208 days
15 13 Charles Melvin Price 43 years, 110 days 43 years, 110 days
16 14 Bill Young 42 years, 288 days 42 years, 288 days
17 15 John William McCormack 42 years, 58 days 42 years, 58 days
18 16 William R. Poage 42 years, 0 days 42 years, 0 days
19 17 Jack Brooks 42 years, 0 days 42 years, 0 days
20 18 Robert L. Doughton 41 years, 305 days 41 years, 305 days
21 19 Joseph William Martin, Jr. 41 years, 305 days 41 years, 305 days
22 20 Dave Obey 41 years, 276 days 41 years, 276 days
23 21 Clarence Cannon 41 years, 69 days 41 years, 69 days
24 22 William Huston Natcher 40 years, 240 days 40 years, 240 days
25 23 Peter W. Rodino 40 years, 0 days 40 years, 0 days
26 24 Pete Stark 40 years, 0 days 40 years, 0 days
27 25 George Miller 40 years, 0 days 40 years, 0 days
28 26 Henry Waxman 40 years, 0 days 40 years, 0 days
29 27 Leslie C. Arends 39 years, 362 days 39 years, 362 days
30 28 Daniel A. Reed 39 years, 352 days 39 years, 352 days
31 29 John Taber 39 years, 305 days 39 years, 305 days
32 30 William M. Colmer 39 years, 305 days 39 years, 305 days
33 31 Wilbur Mills 38 years, 0 days 38 years, 0 days
34 32 Dante Fascell 38 years, 0 days 38 years, 0 days
35 33 Robert H. Michel 38 years, 0 days 38 years, 0 days
36 34 Nick Rahall 38 years, 0 days 38 years, 0 days
37 999 Robert Crosser (I) 37 years, 305 days n/a
38 999 Robert L. F. Sikes (I) 37 years, 290 days n/a
40 36 Jim Sensenbrenner 37 years, 271 days 37 years, 271 days
39 35 Henry B. Gonzalez 37 years, 60 days 37 years, 60 days
41 37 Ed Markey 36 years, 256 days 36 years, 256 days
42 38 John Murtha 36 years, 3 days 36 years, 3 days
43 39 Felix Edward Hébert 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days
44 40 Edward Boland 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days
45 41 William Broomfield 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days
46 42 Dan Rostenkowski 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days
47 43 Neal Edward Smith 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days
48 44 Joseph M. McDade 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days
49 45 Ralph Regula 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days
50 46 Jim Oberstar 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days
51 47 Norm Dicks 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days
52 48 Dale Kildee 36 years, 0 days 36 years, 0 days

See also[edit]

References[edit]