The Capitol doctor said in a letter on Tuesday that there was “no evidence” in the health of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell that he had suffered a stroke or epilepsy, but offered no further explanation for the apparent freeze, which The freeze has raised concerns about the 81-year history. old case.
McConnell’s office released the letter from chief physician Brian P. Monahan as the Senate returned from a long summer break amid concerns over the long-serving Republican leader’s health. More and more doubts were raised. The Republican leader froze at a news conference in Kentucky last week, unable to answer questions, the second such incident in a month.
“There is no evidence that you have epilepsy or have experienced a stroke, transient ischemic attack, or movement disorder such as Parkinson’s disease,” Monaghan wrote, using the term transient ischemic attack (transient stroke) abbreviation of.
Doctors said the evaluation required multiple medical evaluations, including an MRI of the brain and “a consultation with several neurologists for a full neurological evaluation”. Those assessments came after McConnell fell and suffered a concussion earlier this year.
“As you recover from your March 2023 fall, no changes to your treatment regimen are recommended,” the doctor said.
After last week’s freeze, Congressional physicians allowed McConnell to go ahead with his plan. McConnell arrived at his Capitol office on Tuesday.
But the events have sparked veiled concerns among Republican senators and intense speculation in Washington about McConnell’s ability to remain a leader. The long-serving senator fell and hit his head at a political dinner this year, suffering a concussion.
It all comes at a time of a series of health concerns in Washington, especially as COVID-19 cases show signs of rising as we head into the fall. First lady Jill Biden tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, but President Joe Biden tested negative.
Still, many Republican allies have flocked to McConnell’s side, securing broad support for the notoriously cautious leader. Rivals have silenced any direct challenge to McConnell’s leadership.
McConnell is expected to address the Senate at the opening of a series of fall events, most notably the need for Congress to approve appropriations by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year, to prevent any disruption to federal operations. interruption.
Some House Republicans are willing to shut down the government at the end of the month if they cannot implement the tough spending limits they are fighting for, beyond the agreement Biden struck with Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy earlier this summer.
Among the leading Republicans in the Senate, McConnell is seen by the White House and Democrats as a potentially more pragmatic broker who is more interested in avoiding a chaotic government shutdown that could be politically damaging to the GOP.
McConnell has also made ensuring Ukraine continues to have U.S. support as it battles Russia as a top priority, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky launching a counterattack.
The White House is proposing a $40 billion disaster relief funding package for communities in Ukraine and the United States hit by fires, floods and other problems, including the fentanyl crisis, but is running into skepticism from some Republicans who are reluctant to help. War throws in.
McConnell’s health has deteriorated markedly since the concussion in March, after which it took him several weeks to recover. He stammered more and walked more slowly and carefully.
He was first elected in 1984 and became the longest-serving Senate leader in January. The questions before he froze last week were about his own plans and whether he would run for re-election in 2026.
McConnell had been at home in Kentucky at the time, maintaining a strict political schedule, speaking frequently to the public and the media. Before freezing last week, McConnell had just delivered a 20-minute speech without any issues.
Likewise, when he froze during a news conference at the Capitol last month, he took a brief break in his office before returning to the microphone to field a half-dozen other questions and jokes with the media.