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John Fetterman is missing a lot of roll call votes

By Francis Walshe
|
March 28, 2023

Freshman US Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) has started attracting a lot of attention for his frequent absences from Congress. A recent report from Fox News highlighted that Fetterman has missed nearly 83% of roll call votes in the Senate since the middle of February.

The report noted that Fetterman checked himself into the hospital with clinical depression on February 15.

GovTrack, a political watchdog, has noted that Fetterman's absentee record is "much worse" than the median for senators, which stands at 2.3%.

The site states that it does not "rack why legislators miss votes, but it’s often due to medical absences, major life events, and running for higher office."

What's Going On?

Senator Fetterman checked into Walter Reed Military Medical Center on February 15, according to Fox.

Fetterman's staffers have shared updates about his condition, but have not indicated when he plans to return to work. They have stressed, however, that he is still working from the hospital and that his staffers are keeping things moving in the office.

On March 6, Adam Jentleson, the senator's chief of staff, shared a tweet with images of himself and Fetterman apparently working from the hospital.

Jentleson stated Fetterman was "well on his way to recovery" and "grateful... for all the well wishes."

The caption also stated Fetterman would be "back soon," but did not offer any more specific updates on a timeframe for the lawmaker's comeback.

Fox asked his office for a more precise indication of when he plans to return, but did not immediately receive an answer.

Joe Calvello, Fetterman's communications director, released an official statement about the situation at the end of February.

Calvello shared that there was "no real news to report" other than that Fetterman was "doing well, working with the wonderful doctors, and... on a path to recovery."

The statement stressed that the recovery would be a "weeks-long process."

John Fetterman's Political Rise

Senator Fetterman beat Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz to the Senate last year, in what was among the most publicly visible races of 2022.

However, Fetterman's road to Washington was not without controversy.

In September of last year, just weeks before the midterm election that put him in office, it emerged Fetterman had failed to disclose his ownership of eight Pennsylvania properties collectively worth $100,000, reported the Daily Mail.

Fetterman's health also came under the microscope during the campaign. In May 2022, he suffered a "near-fatal" stroke, reported NPR.

Experts have speculated that this event could be linked to Fetterman's current health struggles. The NPR report included insight from healthcare professionals who described depression post-stroke as "alarmingly common."