An aging Congress: Meet the 19 lawmakers who are at least 80 years old

Several lawmakers from both political parties in the Senate and the House have surpassed 80 years of age and continue to work in both chambers.

Aug 14, 2023 - 13:48
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An aging Congress: Meet the 19 lawmakers who are at least 80 years old

Recent health scares among members of Congress have raised the question of how old is too old for politicians. 

Voters have become increasingly concerned about the age of those who work to pass laws and impose regulations on Americans.

While there is no age limit for those who serve in the legislative branch, members from both parties — several of whom have made a career out of serving in Congress — have crossed the 80-year-old threshold and continue to work in both chambers.

The average age of the House of Representatives is 57, while the average age in the Senate is a bit higher at 64.

HOW LONG IS TOO LONG? CONGRESSIONAL HEALTH SCARES RAISE QUESTIONS ABOUT FITNESS TO SERVE

Of the 435 current House lawmakers, 15 are 80 or older.

Those serving in the House who are age 80 or older include California Democrat Grace Napolitano, 86; D.C. Democrat delegate Eleanor Norton, 86; Kentucky Republican Hal Rogers, 85; New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell Jr., 86; California Democrat Maxine Waters, 84; Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer, 84; South Carolina Democrat Jim Clyburn, 83; California Democrat Nancy Pelosi, 83; Illinois Democrat Danny Davis, 81; Texas Republican John Carter, 82; California Democrat Anna Eshoo, 80; Florida Democrat Fredrica Wilson, 80; Connecticut Democrat Rosa DeLauro, 80; North Carolina Republican Virginia Foxx, 80; and Texas Republican Kay Granger, 80.

SEN DIANNE FEINSTEIN BRIEFLY HOSPITALIZED AFTER FALL IN SAN FRANCISCO

Of the 100 current Senate lawmakers, four are 80 or older, with one who recently turned 90.

Those serving in the Senate who are age 80 or older include California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, 90; Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, 89; Vermont independent Bernie Sanders, 81; and Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell, 81.

In recent months, a series of health scares from members of both parties have triggered discussions of term limits and age restrictions for those who serve in Congress.

Earlier this week, Feinstein, who has represented the Golden State in the Senate since 1992, was briefly hospitalized in California after falling in her San Francisco home.

"Senator Feinstein briefly went to the hospital yesterday afternoon as a precaution after a minor fall in her home. All of her scans were clear, and she returned home," a spokesperson for the senator said in a statement about the matter.

But it wasn't the first time Feinstein, the oldest member of Congress, had been hospitalized this year. After returning from a nearly three-month absence from the Senate earlier this year, Feinstein's office confirmed she was hospitalized for severe neurological complications from shingles that affected her brain and face in February.

The 90-year-old has suffered from extensive health issues for more than a year, leading many to wonder about her fitness for office. Since her return to the chamber, there have been multiple instances when Feinstein appeared to be confused about what she was doing and what her responsibilities were during hearings.

McConnell, who turned 81 in February and serves as Senate minority leader, also recently suffered a health scare during a press conference with other Republican leaders.

Following a weekly party luncheon last month, McConnell, who has represented Kentucky in the Senate since 1985, appeared to freeze up as he spoke with reporters about the work Republicans had been doing in the Senate.

MCCONNELL FREEZES UP DURING PRESS CONFERENCE, LATER SAYS 'I'M FINE'

"Good afternoon, everyone. We're on a path to finishing the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) this week. There's been good bipartisan cooperation and a string of …" McConnell said, before trailing off and staring blankly for nearly a minute before colleagues intervened.

"You OK, Mitch?" Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wy., asked. "Is there anything else you want to say or should we just go back to your office?"

McConnell then stepped to the side as Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and others addressed the press on the one-year anniversary of the passage of the Democrat-led Inflation Reduction Act. The GOP leader reappeared about 10 minutes later to finish the press conference.

A McConnell aide told Fox News the senator "felt light-headed and stepped away for a moment. He came back to handle Q and A, which, as everyone observed, was sharp."

"I'm fine," he told reporters, and proceeded to answer questions.

Earlier this year, McConnell suffered a concussion and fractured rib from a fall in a Washington hotel and spent time in recovery at an inpatient rehabilitation center before returning to the Senate.

Aside from the aging members in the legislative branch, the head of the executive branch, President Biden, will turn 81 in November.

Fox News' Brandon Gillespie and Jamie Joseph contributed to this article.

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