July 9th, 2008
03:35 PM ET
6 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. GaryofCircleville

    Well, its been a Democratic Congress for two years and in case you all missed high school government, that is where the power lies. You forgot the President PROPOSES the budget, the Congress APPROVES it. Do not whine, just wait and see how good it gets when it's all run by the Democrats.

    July 9, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. Nunya

    It is obvious from the falling short by one that his return would allow the filibuster to be broken. Shame on the Republicans if they actually force a sick colleague to put his health at risk to travel there to force the issue.

    July 9, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  3. Noah

    Bob:
    How could you be so hateful toward your fellow Americans? I don’t agree with most conservative values but my no means would I EVER suggest that they should be taken hostage. Closed-minded idiots like you are a disgrace to this country. You think you can do a better job?

    July 9, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. Laura

    Ted should rest.

    Why can't they take his vote by proxy?

    Chemo is tough. I was only 45 and felt 20 years older during it. He is 76 and going though both chemo and radiation therapy. Take it easy.

    Laura, Boston

    July 9, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. Alice

    To the reader who posted "They need one more vote. Where is Obama?" - they need one more vote in addition to Mr. Obama.

    July 9, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  6. Laura

    Senator Obama would/could be that one vote. Why doesn't he go to Washington.

    He has no scheduled appearances (except on Television shows)!

    July 9, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  7. Dan (Redmond, WA)

    Come back Senator Kennedy!!! Healthcare in this country needs you!

    July 9, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  8. Linda of Atlanta

    OOPs, Obama is in Washington to vote! McCain is some where hiding out hoping he can dodge blame for one more Republican crime against Americans.
    As for Senator Kennedy, Godspeed!

    July 9, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  9. 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 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  10. Wishing the fellow well

    Mr. Senator, I admit I agree with you on very, very little in this world. However, I want to wish you as speedy a recovery as possible. You've been through a lot these past few months. Rest, take care of yourself, and being the "stubborn old bird" you likely are (much like my own dear grandfather) I ask that you let those around you (your family who cares dearly) take care of you. Get well, sir.

    July 9, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  11. Ilona Hussein Proud Canadian

    OOPS

    You must not be living on this PLANET. Do you honestly believe that BARACK WOULD STAND IDLY BY IF HE COULD HELP TED KENNEDY IN ANY WAY? You have GOT to be some kind of IMPERSONATOR! Get a life please.

    This is a decision Sen. Kennedy will have to grapple with himself. However I honestly wish that he did not have to. This is an issue that is so NEAR AND DEAR TO HIS HEART, only he can make the decision.

    Sen. Kennedy, you are in our thoughts and in our prayers. God willing you WILL BE BETTER SOON.

    July 9, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  12. Doug

    Isn't there one honorable member of the opposition who will cast an abstaining vote so that Kennedy can stay home?

    July 9, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. sharon thomason

    DEAR SIR,
    I DO NOT LIKE IT AT ALL WHAT THE DEMOCRATS ARE TRYING TO DO ABOUT ENDING MEDICARE ADVANTAGE. IT IS A TERRIBLE SHAME. THE INSURANCE THAT IS NOW THROUGH THE GOVERNMENT PAYS SO GOOD AND IS SO REASONABLE. THERE IS NO WAY THE ELDERLY COULD AFFORD MEDICARE SUPPLEMENTS. MY PARENTS ARE ELDERLY AND THEY PAID VERY HIGH PRICES FOR MEDICARE SUPPLEMENTS. THERE SEEMS LIKE THAT THERE IS NO HOPE FOR THE ELDERLY. I AM NOT VOTING FOR A DEMOCRAT IN NOVEMBER. ALL THEY ARE TRYING TO DO IS TAKE AWAY ELDERLY MEDICARE AND THEY WILL RAISE TAXES. I DON'T CARE WHAT THEY SAY THEY WILL RAISE TAXES.

    July 9, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. Jack

    To Brian in Pittsburgh you wrote: "Ted Kennedy is a true American hero." Are you kidding me?? This is the same guy who crashed his car into a lake, left his mistress in the car while he walked away and went home to bed while she drowned to death. That's what you call an American hero? I'm sure the soldiers in Iraq wouldn't like to be compared to that!

    July 9, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  15. Helen, NY

    Ted, we do not need you. It is better for you to resign from the Senate.
    We do not need such extreme liberals in our congress.

    July 9, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  16. The Weatherman

    I hope Senator Kennedy recovers. I hope everyone else will take a course on economics 101. When you cut fees to doctors for medicaid, they charge "global fees" to make-up the difference. Doctors are not going to lose money. This bill means the consumer will pay more money to the doctors through "global fees" and Uncle Sam will pay less money to the doctors. The democrats are playing with smoke and mirrors and their supporters are too uneducated to understand.

    There is a difference between "idealism" and "wishful thinking for political gain". Just like those that beleive Obama can tax the few rich and pay for all those promises just like every democrat since Johnson with the exception of Bill Clinton, an economist.

    July 9, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  17. David Newport, OR

    Here is a thread about health care and the possibility of breaking a republican filabuster...and yet some idiots are talking about "Obama's big Iran plan". Is there any doubt these people are not who they claim to be? Pathetic.

    July 9, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  18. The Austrian

    Please stay home. Are you so power-hungry that you feel you must return?

    July 9, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  19. Peter E

    I wonder on how many of these 'they needed one more vote' was Obama absent... His track record shows that he skipped a full third of all votes during the campaign season because apparently taking people's donations is more important to him than doing the tax-paid work he was elected to do.

    July 9, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  20. fred

    Bush will probably veto anyway, don't you think?

    July 9, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  21. tony

    Maybe now–he'll come to his senses and be a Conservative–

    July 9, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. Marie in California

    Personally, I think he should just stay home in his home state.....maybe forever.

    July 9, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. David

    According to Senate rules (I believe), you must be present to vote. There are no votes in proxy and no votes by machine.

    July 9, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. curmudgeon

    There should be some rules about this–no show for votes equals loss of seat. We need these Senators and Congressmen there for ALL the votes, or some system should be worked out so they can vote on things where ever they are at the time. Surely in this age of electronic communication, the present system could be revised.

    July 9, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  25. JDC // Ohio

    Dems like kennedy created this worthless financial disaster program ($70 million paid out in FRAUD claims in today's newspaper story!). Let Medicare sink under its own weight.

    July 9, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
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