WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Baltimore, who has been absent from Washington for more than a week following a medical procedure, said Monday that his doctors expect him to return in two weeks to Capitol Hill.
Cummings, 68, is a key figure in the impeachment inquiry into Republican President Donald Trump as chairman of House Oversight and Reform Committee. He was among three Democratic committee chairmen to sign a Friday letter accompanying a subpoena seeking documents from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo related to the inquiry into whether Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, the former vice president.
“I am recovering following my medical procedure and remain in constant communication with my staff and my colleagues in the Congress,” Cummings said in a statement Monday in response to inquiries from The Baltimore Sun. “My doctors anticipate that I will be returning to Washington, D.C., when the House comes back into session in two weeks.”
Representatives resume their work in Washington on Oct. 15, the day after the federal Columbus Day holiday.
Neither Cummings nor his staff have disclosed what sort of medical procedure he had.
His office has continued to introduce legislation and conduct other business since he missed a Sept. 19 committee hearing on statehood for the District of Columbia, with Cummings saying then in a statement that “doctors expect me to be back in the office in a week or so.”
Cummings has had health issues in recent years. He uses a wheelchair to get around and when he stands, he braces himself with a walker. In 2017, he underwent an aortic valve replacement. The procedure, which aides described as minimally invasive in Cummings’ case, is used to correct narrowing of the aortic valve in the heart. The surgery led to an infection that kept him in the hospital longer than expected. He was later hospitalized for a knee infection, but he said this summer that his health was fine.
An attorney and former state lawmaker, Cummings was first elected to his seat in 1996. He became committee chairman in January after Democrats won back the House in the 2018 elections.
Trump has made Cummings a frequent target on Twitter. On July 27, the president 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.”