Wednesday, December 8, 2021
47.3 F
Fort Worth

McCain returns to Congress to cheers from fellow senators

🕐 3 min read

WASHINGTON (AP) — Applause and whoops greeted Sen. John McCain, who is battling brain cancer, as he returned to the Capitol on Tuesday to vote for moving ahead on legislation to dismantle Obamacare

The 80-year-old McCain had a visible scar above his left eye after doctors removed a blood clot earlier this month. Days after the surgery, the senator disclosed that he had a brain tumor and had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.

“Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio, TV and internet. To hell with them!” the feisty McCain said in a speech on the Senate floor.

He bemoaned the lack of legislative action in Congress. McCain also said he would not vote for the current GOP version of the repeal and replace bill.

McCain drew a standing ovation after his remarks. He had cast his vote to take up the health care bill, delivering for his party and President Donald Trump on the issue that’s defined the GOP for the past seven years.

“He’s tough as a boot,” said Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana. “Many people understandably would be curled up in bed in the fetal position.”

McCain himself campaigned heavily on the “Obamacare” repeal issue last year as he won re-election to a sixth and almost certainly final Senate term. And there could be sweet revenge in defying cancer to undo the signature legislation of the man who beat him for the presidency in 2008, Barack Obama.

The Arizona senator would also deliver a key victory to President Donald Trump, despite emerging as one of the president’s most outspoken GOP critics on Capitol Hill. During last year’s campaign Trump shockingly ridiculed McCain over his years as a POW during the Vietnam War.

And the situation was eerily reminiscent of a similar scenario involving McCain’s good friend, the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, who returned to the Senate in July 2008 while battling brain cancer to vote on Medicare legislation, his dramatic entry in the chamber eliciting cheers and applause. Ted Kennedy died of cancer in August 2009 (the current Sen. Kennedy is no relation).

The possibility of McCain returning had been discussed around the Capitol on Monday, yet the announcement from his office late in the day came as a surprise. Nor did it guarantee success on Tuesday’s vote for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is managing a balky GOP caucus with almost no room for error in the closely divided Senate.

Yet fellow Republicans took McCain’s return as a positive sign for Tuesday’s vote.

“John McCain’s coming back. That’s positive,” said Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina

McCain has not been overly enthusiastic about the GOP health bill or the partisan process through which it’s emerged. After an earlier version was poised to fail, he called on McConnell to reopen the process with a bipartisan approach, advice the majority leader ignored.

But McCain’s best friend in the Senate Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and other colleagues who’ve spoken with McCain of late, say he’s been itching to get back to the Senate, impatient to return to work.

“Is it surprising that he would get out of a hospital bed and go to work? No,” Graham said Tuesday. “it’s surprising he’s been in the hospital this long.”

Related Articles

Our Digital Sponsors

Latest Articles

Fort Worth Business Press Logo
This advertisement will close in
00
Months
00
Days
00
Hours
00
Minutes
00
Seconds
seconds..
Click here to continue to Fort Worth Business Press

Not ready to subscribe?

Try a few articles on us.

Enter your email address and we will give you access to three articles a month, to give us a try. You also get an opportunity to receive our newsletter with stories of the day.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Get our email updates

Stay up-to-date with the issues, companies and people that matter most to business in the Fort Worth.

  • Restaurants
  • Technology
  • and more!

FWBP Morning Brief

FWBP 5@5

Weekend Newsletter

  • Banking & Finance
  • Culture
  • Real Estate