Fetterman Returning To Senate In April After Weeks-Long Depression Bout



Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) plans to return to the Senate the week of April 17 following a hospitalization for “severe” depression, according to multiple reports, in welcome news for Democrats who have been hampered by absences in recent weeks.

Key Facts

Fetterman has been hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center since February 15, after his office said his depression significantly worsened.

It remains unclear when Fetterman will leave the hospital, though aides have indicated he is making progress.

Fetterman spokesman Joe Calvello said late last month the senator was “on path to recovery” and gave an update last week saying Fetterman should return “soon.”

Key Background

Fetterman has long suffered from depression, but the latest episode came after a series of health scares. He was largely absent from the campaign trail for large portions of the 2022 Pennsylvania Senate race after suffering a stroke days before his primary win, and was briefly admitted to a D.C. hospital in early February after experiencing lightheadedness. Fetterman kept a low profile during his first few weeks as a senator, in part because residual symptoms from his stroke have made it difficult to hold conversations. The senator largely relies on a closed captioning device to understand speech.

What To Watch For

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she hoped to return to the Senate this month following a hospitalization for shingles but that appears unlikely since Saturday marks the start of April. The absences of Feinstein and Fetterman have complicated matters for Democrats, who hold just a 51-49 majority in the Senate. Vice President Kamala Harris has had to step in to serve her constitutional role as a tiebreaker on three occasions while the two have been out.


Republicans are also eagerly awaiting the return of their top senator, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who returned home this weekend after being hospitalized for a concussion he suffered during a fall at a D.C. hotel. It remains unclear when McConnell will return to the Senate, though he has repeatedly made light of the accident and claimed he is making progress.

Further Reading

Sen. Feinstein Hospitalized With Shingles—Straining Democrats’ Narrow Majority (Forbes)

Sen. Fetterman Hospitalized For ‘Severe’ Depression (Forbes)

Pennsylvania Senate Candidate John Fetterman Released From Hospital After Stroke (Forbes)

John Fetterman Discharged From Hospital After 2 Days—Will Return To Senate Monday, Office Says (Forbes)

McConnell Suffered Concussion After D.C. Fall—Will Stay Hospitalized A ‘Few’ Days, Spokesman Says (Forbes)