America’s lawmakers are getting old. At a time when many people in the private sector are retiring, politicians in Washington, D.C., are continuing to serve — and that comes with its own unique problems.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) fractured and dislocated his shoulder while running to the subway to get to a vote on the Senate floor, Breitbart reported. The lawmaker will be on the mend for at least six weeks and may require surgery.
“It’s called being too responsible, all to get to the vote and to get to another hearing,” Menendez said about his unfortunate situation that left his arm in a sling. “The hearings will always be there and the votes will always be there. Good lesson,” he said.
“I’m going to survive and I’m one tough son of a bitch, so this too will pass,” Menendez added. The Democrat had been at a hearing for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and wanted to get over the Senate floor as to not miss the chance to vote on key legislation when he slipped and fell en route.
One of the bills that he helped pass with only Democratic support was the $2.5 trillion raise to the debt ceiling. This has allowed Democrats to kick the problem down the road and until after the 2022 midterm elections.
That strategy of putting off problems may be especially useful considering that Congress is made up of some very old people. According to CNN, this is the oldest Congress in at least 20 years, and half of the U.S. Senate is at 65 or older, with 21 of them between the ages of 70 and 80.
The House of Representatives fares slightly better likely attributed to the high turnover of two-year terms that requires frequent campaigning. However, Congress is also trending older overall as time goes on without many promising younger candidates to replace them.
The wisdom that comes with age is no doubt valuable, and growing older can provide a perspective that youth simply can’t. However, it’s a troubling trend that will continue to rely on infirm and frail politicians to make the most important decisions in the nation — and occasionally, they will be sidelined by health difficulties.