xml:space="preserve">

Democratic U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Baltimore missed a high-profile hearing Thursday of the House committee he chairs, saying he had undergone a medical procedure that will keep him from working for “a week or so.”

“I was very disappointed to miss today’s important hearing,” Cummings said in a statement to The Baltimore Sun as the Oversight and Reform Committee hearing continued on a bill that would make the District of Columbia the nation’s 51st state.

Advertisement

“Unfortunately, I’ve had to have a medical procedure, and my doctors expect me to be back in the office in a week or so. However, nobody should mistake my absence as a lack of commitment to D.C. statehood or passage of H.R. 51,” the statement said.

Cummings’ office declined to provide further details of the procedure or his condition.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat, presided over the hearing in Cummings’ place. She told spectators in the committee room: “Unfortunately, Chairman Cummings is not able to be here today, so he asked me to chair today’s hearing and to read his opening statement.”

Cummings, 68, has had health problems in recent years. He uses a wheelchair to get around and when he stands, he braces himself with a walker.

In 2017, he underwent a minimally invasive heart procedure that led to an infection that kept him in the hospital longer than expected. He was later hospitalized for a knee infection, but has said recently that his health is fine.

He chairs the oversight committee, which has been investigating Republican President Donald Trump and has fought with the administration over subpoenas — challenged by the president — of Trump’s personal and financial records.

On July 27, Trump began a weeklong series of tweets and comments attacking the congressman, his hometown of Baltimore and his congressional district, which Trump called “rat and rodent infested.”

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement