Colleagues urge Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. to provide an update on his health problems

FILE In this Oct. 16, 2011 file photo, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill., is seen during the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington. Jackson came to Congress already a rising star, with designs on higher office and one who sought to transcend the more polarizing figure cut by his father, the famous civil rights leader. But that careful cultivation has been damaged the last three years by allegations of corruption and embarrassing personal disclosures. Now, for the first time, he will face serious competition for his House seat. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File) Charles Dharapak

FILE In this Oct. 16, 2011 file photo, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill., is seen during the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington.
Charles Dharapak
(CBS News) Colleagues are publicly calling for Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., to provide more details into an illness that has forced inpatient treatment and a leave of absence from Congress.

Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters Tuesday that he hopes Jackson "is able to return in a short time," but says that elected officials have a duty to be open with voters.

"I think that we all have a responsibility to report to our constituents," Hoyer said.

Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., echoed similar statements, noting that he has no inside information on Jackson's ailment or condition.

"As a public official, though, there reaches a point where you have a responsibility to tell people what you're facing and how things are going," WBBM newsradio in Chicago reported. "If there is some medical necessity for him not saying more at this moment, then I will defer to that, but he will soon have to make a report on what he's struggling with - the physical condition he's struggling with," Durbin said.

Jackson has been on leave since June 10, and his office said last week that he is being treated for "physical and emotional ailments" and that his condition is "more serious" than thought, failing to indicate when Jackson might return to work.

Both Hoyer and Durbin noted that another Illinois elected official on leave, Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who is recovering from a stroke he suffered in January, has appropriately handled communicating with his constituents about his health issues.

"I thought Senator Kirk's video talking about his rehabilitation answered hundreds of questions that I was facing, and - I think to the satisfaction of Illinois voters - told them what his current situation is and what his hopes are about recovery," Durbin said on WBBM.

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    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for


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