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

Kennedy: 'It feels great to be back'


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. HomoSapien

    All the very best to you Senator Kennedy! You are one heck of a worker!

    Let's hear you roar once more!

    July 9, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. VA

    You da man, except that i do not like the fact that you support Obama over my favorite, HC

    July 9, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  3. Gene

    Welcome back senator... congratulations on your ongoing recover.

    July 9, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. John B. From New Hampshire

    what an inspiring and courages story. Welcome Back Teddy!!!!

    July 9, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. Sabrina

    Go Ted! 😉

    July 9, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. mel in montana

    Best wishes to the Senator and his family. He has been a beacon of hope for the downtrodden throughout his service to our country.

    July 9, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. Lynette

    I am pleased to hear that Senator Kennedy has returned to the Senate floor. May the Lord bless and keep him in his care.

    July 9, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. Frank

    Welcome Back !!

    July 9, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. keith polson

    Ted Kennedy graces the United States of America.

    So says this Canadian.

    July 9, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. Josh K

    Who cares...another corrupt politician. I am glad he is better though.

    July 9, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. Xavier

    Welcome back.

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

    What a dedicated, strong individual. My positive thoughts and well wishes are with Senator Kennedy to remain healthy and be able to continue to push measures to help people in need.

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

    Time to resign Ted. Do the country a favor and retire.

    July 9, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. Abby

    WOW! What a man! What a hero!

    July 9, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. Christina


    July 9, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. Tiffany J, Cincinnati


    July 9, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  17. Glen W. Livingston

    God bless you Sen. Kennedy. Our prayer for your continued fight against your disease is always there as we continue to hold your being up in prayer and pray that our God blesses you with His grace and healing mercy.

    July 9, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. Pat-Pittsburgh

    Sure wish I had his medical insurance.

    July 9, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. indiePA

    Hooray!!!! Good for him!!

    July 9, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. Phillip

    Godspeed Mr. Kennedy maybe you can make a difference in the way the old people of this country are being squeezed by this president and his republican money hungry rich coharts.

    July 9, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  21. Eugene

    Great news! Obama said Kenedy was a fighter and he is indeed so.

    July 9, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. PUMA for BARR

    The man has courrage.

    July 9, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. Loretta from California

    Thank God...This is wonderful news. Welcome back Senator!!!


    July 9, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  24. PoRo

    Welcome back Senator "Ted"!!!!!! God bless you.

    July 9, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  25. Ilona Hussein Proud Canadian




    July 9, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
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