Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 81, returned to the Senate on Monday after a fall that resulted in a concussion and fractured rib six weeks ago.
McConnell had been getting physical therapy at home after the fall, as well as handling certain Senate tasks from home.
He tweeted the Thursday before that he was looking forward to returning.
I am looking forward to returning to the Senate on Monday. We've got important business to tackle and big fights to win for Kentuckians and the American people.
— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) April 13, 2023
McConnell repeated those sentiments on the Senate floor Monday.
“I’m very happy to be back,” McConnell said. “There’s important business for Congress to tackle.”
He also joked, “Suffice it to say, this wasn’t the first time that being hard-headed has served me very well.”
On his first day back, McConnell addressed President Joe Biden and told him to stop wasting time on the debt ceiling in light of his plans to continue high levels of deficit spending.
“The president's economic advisers say the deadline for a solution is not far off. But his political advisers apparently think the White House position should be — listen to this — no talks and no reforms,” he said. “President Biden does not get to stick his fingers in his ears and refuse to listen, talk or negotiate. And the American … people know that the White House needs to stop wasting time and start negotiating with the speaker of the House.”
Congress is currently divided, with a Republican majority in the House and a Democrat majority in the Senate. Traditionally when power is mixed in Congress and the executive branch, there's a lot of gridlock and neither party is able to accomplish much.
Still, McConnell has a lot of power as minority leader. His return has quieted rumors that he plans to retire.
Last week, anonymous sources said that minority whip John Thune (SD) and others were seeking support from Senate Republicans in advance of a new leadership vote.
The Senate has been in flux because of absences that have made it difficult to count on a Democrat majority on any given day.
Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) has been absent for over a month after entering mental health treatment amid recovery from a stroke, but also returned this week. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), 89, remains absent due to complications from shingles.