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. Alex_58

    Now if we could just get McCain, Obama, and Clinton to show up and do some work in Washington we might get something done.

    Oh, I forgot, they're too busy trying to get elected so they can 'run the country'. Ridiculous.

    July 9, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  2. Willy

    Democrats lead in Corgress approval ratings in the single digits, oh look Ted's back...

    July 9, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  3. The Surly Scholar

    Far be it from me to gush, but I've always admired Ted Kennedy's statesmanship. It's inspiring to see him so eager to return to the Hill so soon after brain surgery.

    July 9, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  4. lkay

    This man has been fighting for the rights and quality of life for the rest of us for a long time. It is no surprise that he came back to keep Medicare benefits alive and well.

    July 9, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. John Ret. Air Force

    Now that's a hero.

    July 9, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. skunkrat The Marine

    WONDERFUL! He is a great SENATOR.

    July 9, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  7. Danel

    I commend Ted for going back to work despite of a brain surgery. Nothing good to say about McCain who was out 70% of the time considering that he is not sick.

    July 9, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. Doris,Memphis,TN

    We love you Ted!
    I very happy to see that they did not cut
    all of your beautiful hair. You are a
    brillant and courageous man.
    God Bless you to have speedy

    Obama/Edwards 2008-2016

    July 9, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  9. Welcome Back SIR

    TAKE care of yourself SENATOR........GOD Bless YOOU !!!

    July 9, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  10. Doris,Memphis,TN

    We love you Ted!
    I am very happy to see that the doctors did not
    cut all of your beautiful hair. You are a brillant
    and courageous man. God Bless you to have
    a speedy recovery.

    Obama/Edwards 2008-2016

    July 9, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. Brandon

    Time to start preparing a successor. Pray that you live long enough to watch this successor who can only win with Clinton support after being trashed along with flip flopper John Kerry in the Dem Primary.

    July 9, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. M.S. Indiana

    WB MR. Kennedy !!
    Thanks for serving USA and its people !!!!

    July 9, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  13. cevans, tx

    God Bless You Senator Ted...May He (GOD) be with you and see you through this ordeal...May He (GOD) lay His hands of mercy upon you and heal you totally and completely...

    July 9, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  14. Dont-forget

    Wow, all these folks must have turned a blind eye to Kennedy's dismal past, kinda like the DA's office in MA. Once again shows that some are above the law, no matter what.

    July 9, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  15. We Love You, Ted

    He's a good man, and a great American.

    God Bless you Senator Kennedy.

    July 9, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  16. adam

    Which Senators missed this vote?

    July 9, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  17. linda from South Dakota

    welcome back ted,, i wish you the very best in your full recovery,,, we need your input,,, again WELCOME BACK!!!!

    July 9, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  18. Rita Miller

    Thank you so much, and the best to you.

    July 9, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  19. California Gold

    Welcome Back Senator Kennedy!

    July 9, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  20. Moon Maiden from Lake Michigan

    Dear Mr kennedy,
    First of ALL you are an incredible person as well as the rest of your family. YOU ARE ONE OF A KIND!!!
    Thank God you are feeling better and I wish you all the best in your recovery.
    And thank you for being there today. We need you.
    Stay strong and rest well.
    God Bless you

    July 9, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  21. Ann Hussein West

    Great News! We love you and take care! Any negative comments remember it could be your family member.

    July 9, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  22. A.J. in Fla

    All the best to you Sir......!!!!

    July 9, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  23. Proud American

    Welcome back Ted... we need you!!!!
    Obama '08

    July 9, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  24. Steve

    Welcome back Ted. You're in our thoughts and prayers.

    July 9, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  25. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Ted Kennedy is an inspiration especially to those who suffer from the illness of cancer. YES WE CAN.

    July 9, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
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