July 9th, 2008
03:35 PM ET
10 years ago

Kennedy weighing Senate comeback

Kennedy was released from the hospital in May

Kennedy was released from the hospital in May

(CNN) - Sen. Ted Kennedy, who was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor nearly two months ago, is weighing whether to return to the Capitol Wednesday afternoon, for the first time since he got sick, to help break a Republican filibuster of an important Medicare bill, a senior Democrat on Capitol Hill told CNN.

The source said Kennedy’s return has been “discussed but is doubtful” because Kennedy’s family is concerned the travel would be too strenuous on the 76 year-old who had surgery to remove the tumor and is now undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Watch: Kennedy released from the hospital

The vote is scheduled for 4 p.m. so a final decision is expected shortly whether to have Kennedy leave Massachusetts and fly to Washington.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has talked to Kennedy’s wife Vicki twice since Sunday about having Kennedy return for the vote, the source said. Reid “was not pushing, just asking,” the source said.

“The family doesn’t want to do it,” the source said.

A previous vote fell one vote shy of clearing the filibuster just over a week ago. The underlying bill would reverse a 10.6 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors that will go into effect this month.

Kennedy is chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and is an influential Democrat on health care issues. Some members of the Democratic leadership think it would be a “great idea” if Kennedy were able to return because it would “buck up” Democratic senators who have worked hard to pass the stalled bill, the source said.

Filed under: Ted Kennedy
soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. proud army and navy mom

    to Bob: you are just a ball of hate, you old repug. take your med, please..

    July 9, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  2. Abby

    Independent Voter, Ted went sailing BEFORE the surgery. Having your brain opened is no joke.

    July 9, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  3. Sam from Vienna, VA

    OOPs, maybe you missed it, but Obama was there, and was one of the votes for breaking the filibuster. He will be there for this vote again. Nice try, though, but you might want to ask Senator John "Has Missed More Votes this Session than Any Other Senator" McCain for another talking point.

    July 9, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |

    Sorry your sick Mr. Kennedy hope you get well soon, however lately some of your decisions baffle me? I know your health care along with the other Senators is top notch! Good for you, bad for us. Get someone in there to replace you and make some decisions. NOW>

    July 9, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. Unempressed

    at work we have "backups" – they don't have this in the Senate? What about vote from home using the "Internet"? some states allow people to "vote by mail" =)

    July 9, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  6. Bob

    We should ship you and your kind to Iran instead. Doesn't that put you a lot closer to the Promised Land?

    July 9, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. Dante

    I don't believe in God, but if he exists, may he bless Senator Kennedy with a full, and a speedy recovery.

    Kennedy is a fighter for the people of this country and we need more senators like him.

    Doctors are getting screwed because most of the money is going to the insurance companies–not the doctors. And the insurance companies are in turn screwing patients out of necessary medical treatment all so they can save a few dollars here and there to line their own fat pockets.

    Wake up people, the Republican party and its ideals are obsolete. It's time for a new form of government. It's time the government got back to working for the people.

    July 9, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |


    July 9, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  9. Evan

    If it turned out that with Kennedy the Democrats would just have the votes to overcome the filibuster, I think it would be truly be a sign that the Republican haven't lost all sense of decency, for Mitch McConnell to vote in Kennedy's place, the way he would have voted.

    I'm not sure how I could sleep at night knowing I was able to cut Medicare payments to doctors serving the poor, even though the majority of the Senate was against it, because one of my colleagues (there but for the grace of God could have been me) was battling for his life - with the best doctors money can buy.

    July 9, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  10. Keith

    My disabled daughter's health depends to some extent on the outcome of this vote. Kennedy has great healthcare as a Senator. He needs to get there for the vote if his vote would make a difference.

    July 9, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  11. WORST PERSON!!!!

    Rick .......I hope he recovers from his illness but he needs to stay away from the senate…..permanently. He's done enough damage to this country.........RICK WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD!!!!!!!

    OOPs .....They need one more vote. Where is Obama -with Hillary

    Thank God FOR Senator Kennedy ! A true democrat and a great American

    July 9, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. betsy

    Give me a break......we're supposed to feel sorry for the doctors?

    What about all the people who have jobs cut out from under them?

    What about the doctors operating on the wrong side of someone's body, cutting off the wrong leg?

    I myself had an unnecessary hysterectomy, and have had doctors not fully disclose test results that came back to haunt me.

    I don't think the doctors are going to get much sympathy!

    July 9, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  13. ProundToBeDemocrat

    This man is here in this planet to help people and do good deeds. I admire this guy may God bless and heal his illness and give him a healthy and long life.

    July 9, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  14. Delegate from California

    Wish him a fast recovery, I always have admire all he has done and for him to come and make a very important vote.

    I work for Special Olympics and I admire and respect him very much and his family.

    All the best to you.

    July 9, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  15. Matt F.


    Obama is in D.C. today, but they still need Kennedy's vote to break the filibuster – check your facts first.

    OBAMA '08

    July 9, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  16. Frank

    Kennedy needs to drop out of the Senate as he obviously cannot continue to represent his district. A Republican is needed to fill this spot.

    July 9, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. mayahh

    You look GREAT, Senator , GOD bless you and your family, AMERICA Land of the free, home of the brave......

    July 9, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  18. Kevin

    The almighty God will help him recover fully.

    July 9, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  19. Adam

    Isn't Bush going to veto this bill anyway?

    July 9, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |

    Do it Senator Kennedy. You can be there and back home in only a few hours. You can fly on a private jet. And, Yes, where is Obama? Why isn't he voting?

    July 9, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  21. PUMAs = Operation Chaos, Pt 2

    We wish Kennedy all the best. Any decision he'll make about his position will be understood.

    July 9, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  22. Cynthia

    I'm sure the Democrats would love to have his vote, but he should not do anything to put his health in jeopardy.

    July 9, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  23. Haneef

    Hey Ted, we appreciate your dedication and hard work. But we'd much rather have you in good health. Take care of yourself and let our fellow dems handle it. We love ya!

    July 9, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  24. Matt

    Perhaps, becuase of his tenous health condition, he should retire from his post? Maybe someone can take over for him and he can concentrate on his health?

    July 9, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |


    God's Speed brother Ted...:)

    July 9, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
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