Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, one of the most powerful figures in Washington, is being treated for a concussion and will remain in the hospital for several days after tripping and falling at a hotel, his spokesperson said on Thursday.
McConnell, who is 81 and was first elected to the Senate in 1984, "tripped at a dinner event Wednesday evening and has been admitted to the hospital and is being treated for a concussion. He is expected to remain in the hospital for a few days of observation and treatment," spokesman David Popp said in a statement.
McConnell has been awake and talking to people and is expected to make a full recovery, said Republican Senator John Barasso, a member of McConnell's leadership team.
The 81-year-old Kentucky Republican's legislative skills have torpedoed many Democratic priorities over the years, both when his party held a majority in the chamber and when Democrats have held the edge, as they currently do.
He has long been loathed by Democrats, particularly for his tactics that allowed Republicans to build a 6-3 conservative majority on the US Supreme Court. But he has also drawn the ire of Donald Trump, largely for rejecting the Republican former president's false claims that his 2020 election defeat was the result of fraud.
With Republicans now holding a narrow 222-213 majority in the US House of Representatives, McConnell has so far stayed on the sidelines in the debate over raising the nation's looming $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, leaving talks to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Democratic President Joe Biden.
Currently serving his seventh term, which runs through 2026, McConnell is the third US senator to be hospitalized in recent weeks.
Democrat John Fetterman is currently being treated for depression, while Diane Feinstein, also a Democrat, recently was discharged to recuperate from home following a bout with shingles.
Democrats, including three independents who vote with them, hold a 51-49 majority in the chamber.
McConnell was first elected to the Senate in 1984. He served as the Senate majority leader from 2015 to 2021, and has been the Senate minority leader since then.
A former judge-executive of Jefferson County, Kentucky, McConnell has also helped steer the federal judiciary sharply to the right during his nearly four decades in the Senate.
After winning their narrow majority in the House in last November's elections, Republicans held 15 rounds of voting before electing McCarthy as speaker. Senate Republicans, by contrast, easily reelected McConnell.