The Senate installed closed captioning technology for freshman senators. John Fetterman, D-Pa., to help him during his recovery from a life-threatening stroke that hindered his ability to process and communicate speech.
Fetterman’s team, in coordination with the Congressional Office of Accessibility Services when he took office in January, installed the technology on desks in the Senate chamber, Time magazine reported. The technology installed will allow Fetterman to read typed closed captions as individuals speak.
The technology will also assist Fetterman in speaking at the venue, which has strict rules prohibiting members from using certain technologies, including the use of cell phones. When he presides over the Senate, he can also place a similar desk stand on the Senate lectern, complete with closed captioning technology.
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The wired screens in the Senate chamber will be able to function with or without Wi-Fi because the closed captions are manually entered for him by a professional broadcast captioner. He can also use the technique while sitting and standing.
Fetterman used closed captioning technology in his campaign and won one of the most closely contested Senate races in November 2022.
He suffered a life-threatening stroke in May and has only been seen in public since recovering. He used the closed captioning system during interviews with NBC after his stroke, as well as during his debates, where candidates struggled to articulate and process issues.
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Fetterman did not release his full medical records, as he had promised on the campaign trail.
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Fetterman defeated Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz has a 5% lead in the 2022 Pennsylvania Senate race, according to Fox News election data.