July 9th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Kennedy: 'It feels great to be back'

CNN

Watch Senator Kennedy's return to Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy on Wednesday made his first appearance in Congress since being diagnosed with brain cancer nearly two months ago, casting a single vote to help break a Republican filibuster of an important Medicare bill.

Kennedy was greeted by his colleagues with a lengthy standing ovation when he walked onto the Senate floor just after 4:15 p.m. He was in the Chamber for about 10 minutes, and left the Capitol before the results of the vote were known.

"It feels great to be back. I'm glad to be back in the Senate," Kennedy told CNN as he was leaving Congress.

"It's enormously important... for our seniors to be able to be protected is a key defining issue for this Congress and for this country, and I didn't want to miss the opportunity to be able to express my voice and my vote."

"I'm feeling fine," he added. "I'm fatigued once in awhile, but otherwise pretty good."

He said he hopes to be back full-time soon.

A vote just over a week ago fell one vote shy of the 60 needed to end the filibuster. Wednesday's effort to break the filibuster succeeded, 69-30. Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, did not vote.

Kennedy, a 76-year-old Massachusetts Democrat, had surgery to remove the tumor June 2 and is now undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Kennedy is chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and is an influential Democrat on health-care issues.

President Bush earlier threatened to veto the legislation - so even though the Democrats beat the filibuster, they may need to corral votes afresh to override a veto.

But a spokesman for Harry Reid said it would be "politically impossible" for Republicans who switched their vote after Kennedy's dramatic appearance to change sides again and support a veto.


Filed under: Ted Kennedy
soundoff (178 Responses)
  1. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Welcome home Senator.

    July 9, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  2. Heather

    Welcome home Teddy!!!!!!!!!

    July 9, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  3. suzan fahmy

    What a man. God bless you Senator Kennedy

    July 9, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  4. Ernest in MD

    Welcome Ted...

    July 9, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  5. frieda406

    hurray for ted. someone who's commited to this country and its betterment. he left his home to travel to d.c. to vote on an important bill. not too many people would do that.

    July 9, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  6. Ann

    Go Ted Go! Always there when we need you!

    July 9, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  7. Linda from Prescott AZ

    Senator Kennedy, You Rock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Cast your vote and go home and rest.
    Bless your heart.
    You truly are a Lion.

    July 9, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. Rufus Fitts

    "Senator Ted Kennedy has returned to the Senate floor for the first time since his May brain surgery."

    That's it? That's the story??

    July 9, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. ed dzamba

    welcome back! we missed ya!

    July 9, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. The Campaign Strategist from 115th & Amsterdam Ave

    The Lion Roars!

    July 9, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  11. SHEILA

    WELCOME BACK BUDDY!

    July 9, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  12. fairandstraight

    AWSOME; give all the praises to God!!!!

    July 9, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  13. Dan in VA

    Welcome Back Senator Kennedy. Best Wishes

    July 9, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  14. tstrickler

    How absolutely wonderful....This is the best news ever!

    tcs

    July 9, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  15. Derrick in Houston

    way to go TED!

    July 9, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  16. Psbro

    Who cares!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! His protege & golden child BHO, voted for FISA, so him returning means zip.

    July 9, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  17. Wow

    I wish him all the best.

    July 9, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  18. Jack

    Who CARES????????????????????????????????????

    July 9, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  19. Banko

    Welcome Teddy.
    Thank GOD for the speedy recovery.

    July 9, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  20. Louise

    Good luck, Senator Kennedy, and may God Bless you

    July 9, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  21. Capn

    Good for hiM!

    July 9, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  22. Greg

    wondering if Ted is going to denver in august?

    July 9, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  23. Enough Already!

    Welcome back! Awesome recovery time.

    July 9, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  24. DJ, LA, CA

    Remarkable comeback. Brain surgery to back to work in just a few weeks? Wow...

    July 9, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  25. C!

    YAY!

    His courage and will are truly inspiring.

    DEMS `08!

    July 9, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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