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Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel K. Inouye remains hospitalized in Bethesda, Md., with his office reporting in a Sunday night statement that the Hawaii Democrat is experiencing “respiratory complications.” There is no timetable for Inouye’s return.
In addition to chairing the Appropriations panel and being the most senior senator in the chamber, Inouye also serves as the president pro tempore, which is a constitutional office that puts him third in line for the presidency.
“Sen. Inouye remains hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He is stable and communicating with his doctors and family,” said spokesman Peter Boylan. “Unfortunately, he is fighting respiratory complications as work is being done to stabilize his supplemental oxygen requirements. At this time, there is no time table for his release.”
Inouye has been at the military facility since Dec. 9, when he was moved there from George Washington University Hospital, which he arrived at on Dec. 6.
On Monday, the Senate will begin consideration of an emergency supplemental appropriations bill drafted by Inouye’s panel. That measure will provide funds for recovery from Superstorm Sandy as well as a number of other funding needs for disasters across the country.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., signaled last week that Inouye’s absence would continue, indicating in remarks on the Senate floor that Sen. Patrick J. Leahy would likely manage the spending bill on the floor. Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, is the second-most senior member of the Appropriations Committee.
Boylan asked for the Senate community and others to pray for the 88-year-old Inouye, a distinguished World War II veteran and Medal of Honor recipient.
He first came to the Senate in 1963 after a tenure in the House and in Hawaii’s legislature even before the island became a state.
“His family and loved ones are overwhelmed by the outpouring of affection and good wishes for his recovery. We ask that the people of Hawaii and the nation keep the senator in their thoughts and prayers,” Boylan said.