Rep. Walter Jones will be sworn into the new session of Congress privately at his home in Farmville, North Carolina, because he could not be in Washington this week due to an unspecified illness.
“Congressman Jones has been dealing with a medical issue and will be sworn in today,” spokesman Joshua Bowlen said.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi swore in all members of the 116th Congress en masse on Thursday before conducting individual ceremonies.
The 3rd District Republican has shared few details about his health status. Jones’ wife told WITN that he is in bed sick with a chest cold “on top of everything else” without going into details.
A local GOP official told the television station he has heard no news about Jones’ health. A neighbor who used to go on walks with Jones said he has not seen him around in months.
A spokesman in December said Jones was “looking forward to getting back to the Capitol in January,” after the Congressional Record showed House colleagues granted Jones a leave of absence for the remainder of the 115th term by unanimous consent.
Jones missed every vote in November and December, and missed about a quarter of all votes from July to September.
Jones said during his primary election that after nearly 24 years in Congress, this term will be his last.
During the campaign he listed reducing the national debt and withdrawing forces from Afghanistan as priorities for his final years in public office, according to the Daily Reflector.
He made news earlier this week when he suggested that President Donald Trump use some of his wealth to help pay for the wall he wants to build along the southern U.S. border that has led to the partial government shutdown.
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