Senate Democrats have been without Sens. John Fetterman (Pa.) (and Dianne Feinstein* (Calif.)) in recent weeks, creating a 49-49 split in the chamber that has forced members of the conference to only bring up votes that they know have bipartisan support and caused problems at the committee level.
As we all know, John Fetterman was sick during his run for the Pennsylvania Senate seat in which he beat Dr. Oz. His family and the Democrat party knew how badly he was damaged by stroke but pushed him anyway. A few months into his term he said he was suffering from depression and was admitted to Walter Reed Army Hospital – never to be heard from again.
Which is a big problem this week. Fetterman is on the FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND CONSUMER PROTECTION sub-committee of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and we’re in the middle of a banking crisis. The rules state that an absent Senator’s proxy vote cannot be the deciding vote. In a now equally split committee this could cause a problem for the Democrats.
In addition, his absence affects the quorum rules for meetings. Given Sen. Fetterman’s physical absence, if all committee Republicans or some other combination of half of the members do not attend a business meeting, the committee will be unable to report a measure or nomination regardless of his ability to vote proxy. Republicans used a similar boycott tactic in 2022 to delay committee consideration of a Federal Reserve nominee.
Every day, one of two top aides — chief-of-staff Adam Jentleson or senior adviser Bobby Maggio — visits Fetterman at the hospital most mornings and briefs him for around an hour. They bring updates from Capitol Hill and ask for input on thorny questions, Jentelson said in an interview.
Sen. Fetterman continues to get briefed daily by his staff. https://t.co/y0CYJf0JfT— Joe Calvello (@the_vello) March 6, 2023
U.S. Senate vacancies in 37 states including Pennsylvania are temporarily filled by gubernatorial appointment. The appointee serves until the next statewide general election is held; the winner in that election serves out the remainder of the term.
Current speculation that should Sen. John Fetterman die, he could be replaced by his bonkers, activist wife, Giselle, is terrifying. Running out a term by placing a spouse as a seat warmer is not unheard of, but we should remember that any replacement for John Fetterman is at the discretion of the Governor of Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro. Shapiro is young but he’s known for his backroom deals and savvy political skills. Let’s hope he would find someone less controversial than Giselle should the worst happen to her husband.
Gisele Fetterman, the wife of Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman, left the country when her husband went into the hospital for “depression.”— Scott Mason (@hypnoksa) March 5, 2023
There are rumors he is brain dead, and the DNC is keeping it quiet until after 8/28 so there won’t be another election. pic.twitter.com/lmvwvCO97E
John Fetterman’s wife abruptly leaves the country while he is hospitalized.— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) February 24, 2023
Her husband gets hospitalized with severe depression and her first thought is to leave the country.
*Feinstein, 89, is recovering at home from a case of shingles, having missed the last two weeks of votes. The California Democrat, who is the oldest sitting U.S. senator, tweeted last week that she was continuing to receive treatment and was hoping to return to Washington “as soon as possible.”