FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to reporters following the Senate Republicans weekly policy lunch at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2023. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is eager to leave a hospital where he has been receiving treatment for a concussion since suffering a fall two days ago, a former aide said on Friday.
“Been with him the past two days. Anyone and everyone who steps inside his room wearing a name badge gets asked whether he can leave. Eager to get out is an understatement,” Josh Holmes, McConnell’s former chief of staff, said an email to Reuters.
McConnell, who at 81 is one of the most powerful figures in Washington, tripped and fell at a dinner event on Wednesday evening and was expected to remain in the hospital for a few days.
Several of his fellow Senate Republicans told reporters on Thursday that McConnell was likely to be hospitalized over the weekend. But they said they were confident that he would be back on the job when the Senate reconvenes next week.
His absence comes as President Joe Biden and Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, remain locked in a standoff over the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling. A lack of progress in talks has raised concern about a possible default over the summer.
As Senate minority leader, McConnell has taken a back seat to Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on the debt ceiling issue. But independent experts view the Kentucky Republican as a skilled negotiator who could broker a compromise deal in an emergency.