UNITED STATES—As of Monday, March 13, at least four Senators have been absent from the Senate floor through no fault of their own. The absence of Senators, John Fetterman, and Dianne Feinstein out due to medical reasons, and Senator Jeff Merkley was absent due to a death in the family. The absences caused the Senate floor to have a 49-49 split requiring Vice President, Kamala Harris to break the tie on multiple occasions during the Senators absence.
Senator Mitch McConnell has also been missing in action recently over medical issues.
On February 8, Senator John Fetterman spent the night in an area hospital after a bout of lightheadedness. On February 15, the Pennsylvania Senator checked himself in at Walter Reed National Medical Center and has been in inpatient care for clinical depression since that time. As a stroke victim, the 53-year-old received quite a bit of scrutiny over his run for Senate. One military veteran, who shall remain nameless referred to him as, “a good man,” regardless of his political stance or medical history.
Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was hospitalized after he tripped and fell at the Waldolf Astoria in Washington DC. The 81-year-old Senator was attending a Republican Senate leadership meeting. Reports indicate he sustained a concussion in the fall.
The spokesperson and Communications Director for Senator McConnell, David Popp, gave the following statement:
“Leader McConnel tripped at a dinner event Wednesday [March 8, 2023] evening and has been admitted to the hospital and is being treated for a concussion. He is expected to remain in the hospital for a few days of observation and treatment. The Leader is grateful to the medical professionals for their care and to his colleagues for their warm wishes.”
Reports indicate that the aforementioned Senators were not the only ones missing from the Senate floor recently. Senator Jeff Merkley flew home following the untimely death of his mother. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) took medical leave for surgery in February for surgery due to Prostate cancer.
The country’s longest serving Senator, Dianne Feinstein entered the hospital following a shingles diagnosis in February while the U.S. Senate was on recess. According to her statement, Senator Feinstein has since been released from the hospital.
“I want to thank everyone for the well wishes and the hospital staff for providing excellent care. I’m recovering at home now while I continue receiving treatment and look forward to returning to the Senate later this month.”
On February 14, 2023, Senator Feinstein, 89, sent out a press release announcing that she will not seek reelection in 2024, but does intend to finish her term. The full text of the Senator’s statement may be found on her website.
“I am announcing today I will not run for reelection in 2024 but intend to accomplish as much for California as I can through the end of next year when my term ends.”