John Fetterman Bumbles His Way Through Opening Statement At First Hearing Since Senate Return

James Lynch Contributor
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Democratic Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman had difficulties reading his opening statement to begin his first hearing since returning from medical leave.

Fetterman chaired a hearing held Tuesday by the Subcommittee on Food, Nutrition, Speciality Crops, Organics and Research within the Senate Agriculture Committee. He struggled with reading through his prepared opening statement to kick off the hearing. (RELATED: ‘I Stopped Leaving My Bed’: Sen. John Fetterman Opens Up About Depression)

“SNAP is one of the most effective programs to fight hunger and poverty in the country. In my time and effort in office, as the Mayor of Braddock to Lieutenant Governor to now I have heard from Pennsylvanians about their support for SNAP,” Fetterman said while slurring his words.

“Hunger is not a Republican or Democrat issue, it is all of our issue that we have to take it on. We need to come together and stop playing political games with Americans’ access to food. Americans like Jer… about [inaudible] from the, to the town of Northeastern Pennsylvania, tells me that his victim was skimming, which was somebody stole money and he relied from his SNAP EBT. Mr. [inaudible] is not the first Pennsylvania I’ve heard this from and I hear he won’t be the last. And I will work in this farm bill to modernize snap to work to recipients in the 21st century. I look forward to, from hearing from you, your witness in this [inaudible] for your assistance on the Farm Bill. I will now turn to Senator Braun for any opening comments that he would like to make,” Fetterman stated.

Fetterman was hospitalized for depression Feb. 16 and received treatment at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He was discharged March 31 and made his return to the Capitol Monday afternoon.

His bout with depression came after he suffered a debilitating stroke in May 2022, the eve of the Democratic primary for Pennsylvania Senate. Fetterman took a months-long hiatus from his 2022 general election campaign against Republican opponent Dr. Oz to recover from his stroke.

Fetterman struggled with his words when he debated Dr. Oz in October 2022, weeks before election day. He ended up defeating Oz in November and began his first term in January.