WASHINGTON — Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. remained away from the House Monday, skipping three votes despite returning to the nation’s capital from the Mayo Clinic, where he was treated for bipolar depression.
Lawmakers returned Monday from a five-week recess, but it was unclear when Jackson, D-Ill., who began a medical leave of absence in June, would be back.
Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the No. 2 Democrat in the House, told the Tribune that he had spoken to Jackson on Monday, but did not know his plans. “I don’t have an anticipation when he’ll be back,” Hoyer said.
Calling Jackson a friend, Hoyer added: “I know he’s been struggling with this illness and I am very hopeful he’ll be back sooner rather than later.”
Jackson’s chief of staff, Rick Bryant, in announcing Friday that the lawmaker had left Mayo and was at his home in Washington, D.C., said he was hopeful Jackson would be back to work today.
TV crews and news reporters camped out outside Jackson’s congressional office today, but Jackson spokesman Frank Watkins gave them no indication of when the lawmaker would return. “I have no information one way or another,” Watkins said. “I don’t know whether he’s returning today, this week, or when."
Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., said today that she was aware Jackson was in Washington but did not know his health status.
“He’s here. School has started and the family is here,” she said, declining to predict his return date.
Jackson is married to Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson, 7th, and they have two children. He is up for re-election on Nov. 6.
Another federal lawmaker from Illinois, Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, who suffered a large stroke in January, also did not appear Monday in the Capitol.
Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill., a friend who recently visited Kirk, said today that her best guess was that he would return after the November election. “I have no idea, but that’s what I’m hoping,” she said.
Copyright © 2015, RedEye