President Joe Biden’s progressive agenda may be jeopardized by deaths and illnesses of aging Democratic Congress members that can disrupt the party’s majority, a Monday report said.
The average age of a sitting representative is 58, and for the senators this number is as high as 64, making the current Congress one of the oldest in U.S. history, according to The New York Times (NYT).
President of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society Jane Campbell told The NYT that “nearly one in 10 members of Congress” have died while in office.
Deaths have altered the balance of power, and changed American history, before https://t.co/GpaIYei0T5
— NYT Politics (@nytpolitics) May 10, 2021
In total, more than 1,160 incumbent members and member-elects died since the first convention of Congress in 1789, the report said. Former Presidents John Quincy Adams and Andrew Johnson, who both returned to Congress after leaving the White House are among them.
“Our ability to make good on Biden’s agenda is pretty much dangling by a thread,” Brian Fallon, a former aide to Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, said, according to the NYT.
“I don’t think it’s uncouth to talk about it. I think it’s a reality that has to inform the urgency with which we approach those issues.” (RELATED: California Loses Congressional Seat For The First Time)
Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, 87, Democratic Texas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, 85, and Democratic California Rep. Grace Napolitano, 84, are among the oldest cohort of the Democratic party’s sitting Congress members.
The slim Senate majority enjoyed by Democrats makes any serious ailments among the party’s sitting Congress members highly undesirable. “Schumer needs all 50 votes,” Fallon said, according to the report.
“If somebody is laid up or is hospitalized for a long period of time and their vote’s not there, then having the majority is somewhat meaningless.”