Sen. Bob Casey, left, and Sen. John Fetterman

Sen. Bob Casey, left, and Sen. John Fetterman (U.S. Senate)

(Tribune News Service) — Sen. Bob Casey, D., Pa., returned to work this week following surgery, as the state’s junior senator, John Fetterman, remained on leave continuing treatment for depression.

Fetterman, a fellow Democrat who just took office in January, checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Feb. 15 to receive inpatient treatment for clinical depression, something his aides said he had struggled with but that became “severe,” over the preceding month or so. His office said this week there’s no timeline for Fetterman’s return beyond “weeks.”

Casey had also been away from the Senate, recovering from surgery for prostate cancer on Feb. 14. He returned on Monday, where he cast a vote to advance a judicial appointee. (Casey missed only a handful of votes, since the Senate was on recess last week.)

Casey announced in January that he’d been diagnosed with prostate cancer but called his prognosis “excellent.” His doctors have said he’s not expected to need further treatment after his surgery.

Casey, in his third term in the Senate, is widely expected to launch a bid for another one later this year, ahead of the 2024 election. Democrats hope he can hold a competitive seat in the narrowly divided chamber.

Fetterman’s office provided a sort of non-update update Monday, just as the Senate returned from its break.

“There’s no real news to report except that John is doing well, working with the wonderful doctors, and remains on a path to recovery,” communications director Joe Calvello said in a statement. “He is visiting with staff and family daily, and his staff are keeping him updated on Senate business and news.”

Calvello said Fetterman’s team recently opened a new office in Erie and has plans to open several more regional offices in the coming weeks.

“We understand the intense interest in John’s status and especially appreciate the flood of well wishes. However, as we have said this will be a weeks-long process, and while we will be sure to keep folks updated as it progresses, this is all there is to give by way of an update,” he said.

Democrats have a narrow 51-49 edge in the Senate, but have focused mostly on confirming no-controversial nominees who have advanced without trouble during Casey’s and Fetterman’s absences.

(c)2023 The Philadelphia Inquirer

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