CHICAGO, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., has taken a leave of absence to be with his wife while she has surgery, his staff says.
An aide told the Chicago Sun-Times Monday the leave was effective Sept. 12. The aide had been asked why Rush was absent for last week's votes on the food stamp program and on a resolution that would trade funding for the federal government for defunding Obamacare.
"He is grateful for the prayers, support and well wishes extended to him and his family on behalf of Mrs. Rush," Debra Johnson, Rush's communications director, said.
Johnson said Rush's wife Carolyn is having "major surgery."
Rush, a former leader in the Black Panthers, has been in Congress representing a district centered in Chicago's South Side since 1993. In 2000, he fended off a challenge from a new state senator, Barack Obama, in the Democratic primary.
Given the Republican majority in the House, Rush's absence made no practical difference on the two votes.