The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Rep. Cummings recovering at home amid health problems

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) last month filed paperwork to seek a 13th term in Congress. (Alex Brandon/AP)

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) is recovering at home in Baltimore after a 10-week absence from Capitol Hill for treatment of a knee infection. Aides do not know when he will return.

Cummings, the senior Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has been missing from the day-to-day action on the Hill even as his staff pressures the GOP-controlled House to hold President Trump accountable.

Last month Cummings, 67, filed paperwork to seek a 13th term in Congress. Four Democrats and five Republicans are running in the 7th Congressional District, which includes much of the city of Baltimore and parts of Baltimore and Howard counties.

Cummings was admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital on Dec. 29 with a bacterial infection in his knee. Within a few weeks, he moved to an inpatient rehabilitation facility associated with Hopkins, and he is currently working from home.

The congressman is “taking meetings by phone and in constant contact with Members and staff,” according to a statement from his office.

“He is continuing with in-home physical therapy and his doctors have assured the Congressman that they expect his full recovery. He will adhere strictly to his doctors’ direction as to when he will return to the Hill,” the statement says.

Reps. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) are fulfilling Cummings’s committee duties in the meantime, and Cummings has participated in a few meetings via conference call.

Cummings’s wife, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings , ended her campaign for governor in early January, citing “personal considerations.”

The congressman was away from Washington for about three months last summer and fall after surgery to repair a heart valve, followed by infection and complications.

Upon his return to Capitol Hill, he told staff that he was more motivated than ever to hold the Trump administration accountable.

“I’ve often said, don’t ask the question, ‘Why did it happen to me?’ but, ‘Why did it happen for me?’ ” he said at the time. “I am thoroughly convinced, and you will never convince me otherwise, that what I have gone through was for a purpose.”