Spratt in early stages of Parkinson's

House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt (D-S.C.) has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

Spratt's doctor told him that he's in the early stages of the degenerative disorder "but the symptoms are mild and the progression is slow," Spratt said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The chief symptom is an occasional tremor in my right hand, which responds to medication and is mostly a nuisance," he said. "The other symptom is in my posture, which is bent a bit, but I hope to correct it with exercise."

He said that his doctor said his health wasn't a reason to decide against running for re-election.

“None of these symptoms affects me mentally or physically," Spratt said. "In January, for example, I made a long trek across the world to Afghanistan, with no limits on our itinerary."

Spratt said he disclosed the diagnosis to address "rumors" about his health as he runs for reelection. He said he would seek a 15th term in the House Wednesday.

He noted that last year he had bone spurs on his foot that caused him to hobble and surgery involving his prostate.

“But to dispel any doubt, the problem in no way involved cancer," he said. "This operation was also a success."

Spratt is set to be a pivotal player for the remainder of the 111th Congress. As Budget Committee chairman, he will shepherd the budget resolution in the House this spring. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has also named him to the White House fiscal commission, which President Barack Obama has asked to produce a plan to rein in the nation's debt.

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