Popular Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings underwent a minor surgical procedure Friday to treat a bacterial infection in his knee, his office said.
Cummings, who has been in a local hospital since earlier this week, had the infection drained from his knee, a spokesperson said.
“He is resting comfortably and expects a full recovery,” Cummings’ office said in a statement.
Though news of his hospitalization broke Friday afternoon, a spokesperson for Cummings told The Washington Informer on Thursday that the congressman “was recovering from an illness.”
Various reports have led to speculation that Cummings’ condition is more serious than his office has let on, and could be related to a heart problem the 66-year-old experienced early last year.
Fueling the speculation was his wife Maya Rockeymoore Cummings’ sudden decision to suspend her gubernatorial bid in Maryland shortly after news broke of her husband’s hospitalization.
“Making a positive and direct contribution to the state of Maryland and to our nation was my greatest motivating factor for stepping into the public arena,” she said in an email to supporters. “Unfortunately, due to personal considerations, I am suspending my bid for governor of Maryland.”
Politico reported that multiple sources said Rockeymoore Cummings’ decision to leave the race was linked to her husband’s health issues.
Democratic aides said Cummings appeared to be moving more slowly before the Christmas break.
Cummings was hospitalized in May after what his office described at the time as a “minimally invasive” heart valve replacement. He was scheduled to return to work shortly after but ended up missing several months due to a post-op infection that kept him away from Capitol Hill until September.
“As a rule of thumb, he requires his sign-off on anything sent to the press with his name on it,” a spokesperson told The Informer.
Cummings has dedicated his life of service to uplifting and empowering the people he is sworn to represent.
His official bio notes that he began his career of public service in the Maryland House of Delegates, where he served for 14 years and became the first African-American in Maryland history to be named Speaker Pro Tem.
Since 1996, Cummings has represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The congressman often says that “our children are the living messages that we send to a future we will never see.”
In that vein, he remains committed to ensuring that the next generation has access to quality health care and education, clean air and water, and a strong economy defined by fiscal responsibility, he said.
As the ranking member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform — the main investigative committee in the House of Representatives — Cummings and the committee has jurisdiction to investigate any federal program and any matter with federal policy implications.
He also seeks to identify appropriate reforms that prevent waste, fraud and abuse and that ensure government programs meet the needs of the American people.
Cummings has taken on President Donald Trump since the Republican took office.
“The oath we take as members of Congress is not to Donald Trump — it is to the Constitution of the United States,” Cummings said last month. “I believe the Republicans in Congress have either forgotten that vow, or they are forsaking it.”
The congressman also has taken Trump to task for his labeling of African American communities as slums and ghettos.
“When you’re talking about the African-American community, I want you to realize that all African-American communities are not places of depression, where people are being harmed,” Cummings said early last year in a public rebuke of Trump. “As a matter of fact, I let him know that I’ve been living in the inner city of Baltimore for some 35 years in the same house and that I think it would be good for him to acknowledge that most African-American people are doing very, very well.”