Jesse Jackson Jr.'s Staff Still Legislating

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has missed roughly 90 roll-call votes while he is treated for a mood disorder, but his staff marches ahead.

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With controversy swirling around Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s whereabouts, the work continues for his staff who is still plugging along despite being inundated with media calls about their boss's condition.

"It's business as usual for the staff," says Rick Bryant, Jackson's chief of staff and the man currently holding down the fort. "We are continuing to meet the individual needs of constituents just like we always have."

According to the most recent updates from his office, Jackson is suffering from a "mood disorder," a condition that can range from everything from exhaustion to bipolar disorder.

"He is responding positively to treatment and is expected to make a full recovery," Jackson's spokesman said in a statement. [See: Latest political cartoons]

While Jackson has missed about 90 roll-call votes since his June 10 departure, Bryant says his boss' input wouldn't have made much difference in many of the hot-button votes the House has spent its time on in recent weeks, including the House's attempt this week to repeal President Barack Obama's healthcare legislation.

"So he voted 32 instead of 33 times to not repeal healthcare," Bryant says.

Bryant says his staff is still keeping up with the congressman's work by attending hearings in place of Jackson on the Committee of Appropriations. He also says the office continues to fulfill what the Congressman had laid out as office priorities.

Jackson's team has and will continue to push for a third airport for Chicago, and spend time trying to pass legislation that would create a national park in the town's Pullman neighborhood.

Bryant says he knows where is boss is, but that they are not going to share the information with the public.

Sarah Binder, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, says its not unusual for a staff to continue to stay afloat even without their boss.

"Constituent case work never goes away, answering letters never goes away. It's not to say an office could run forever without a member, but there is still plenty of work to do."