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. amt,Fresno,CA

    Glad you'r back Senator Kennedy Stay well, we are praying for your complete recovery.

    July 9, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  2. Elly

    welcome back Senator Kennedy and stay strong
    you can beat this Sir

    July 9, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  3. Bayou Joe

    Ted Kennedy is the poster child for the Democratic Party. This man should be in prison for leaving the scene of a fatal accident and not seating in the Senate.

    July 9, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  4. Peter in PA

    Where is McWAR? If you are a senior citizen, McShame won't give a crap about your healthcare needs. Remember not to pull the lever for him in November 4, 2008.

    July 9, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  5. JO, Seattle

    Did Ted bring any brains back with him?

    July 9, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  6. JO

    Too bad he doesn't retire ... he is long past due.

    July 9, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  7. Jose Card - Independent

    My best wishes for Senator Kennedy!

    July 9, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  8. Frank Lee

    Welcome back, Mr. Kennedy.

    This country needs you now more than ever...................

    July 9, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  9. vw

    No, you need to take break.
    You had better retire and have a long vacation at home.

    July 9, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  10. Shane

    Thank God you came back to support this bill!! Many people forget that Medicare is also the sole health insurance for millions of disabled Americans as well! Our doctors were going to stop taking Medicare if this veto did not happen. The Republicans who oppose this, should be ashamed! I would like them to take the awful "insurance company"managed care Medicare if they had some terrible illness!
    Thanks Teddy.

    July 9, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  11. christianecon.com

    God bless you Senator Kennedy! And THANK YOU for working so hard for ALL Americans!

    July 9, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  12. white people for obama

    God bless Senator Kennedy for his commitment to health care issues. I knew he was the real mastermind behind all the universal healthcare idea not Hillary. She just takes the credit because she was married to the president

    July 9, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  13. Mary May King

    Isn't it terrific that the Senator got back to the Chambers in time to cast a vote to pay his medical providers?

    July 9, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  14. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    WOW, this is impressive! and i'd feel the same way if it was a repug who bounced back so quickly at age 76!!!!

    welcome back, sir, and keep up your great work (but dont overstress yourself, we need you in congress)

    July 9, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  15. PUMA 4 HILL

    Now this is one old man who needs to hang it up and retire... for the benefit of all.

    July 9, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  16. Cynthia

    Glad he was able to make it back in time to cast his vote because it was important to him to do so. Also, wish his continual good health through his medical condition.

    July 9, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  17. Biff, hussein Biffington

    Senator Kennedy has demonstrated that you can do something other than be shot down to become a true American Hero.

    Thank you, Sir.

    July 9, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  18. JK Ashburn, VA

    He'd never miss the opportunity to cast a vote to spend even more of our tax dollars.

    July 9, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  19. Helen, NY

    Ted, Go retire. We do not need you. You want to divert our attention. You are a waste of time.

    July 9, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  20. Lorna, NY

    Welcome back Teddy!

    July 9, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  21. aware

    Nice to see you back Ted!

    But, your guy, Obama, is a loser! He blows with the wind of political expediency and has no moral center! 🙁

    July 9, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  22. Aaron

    Welcome back Uncle Teddy!!!! You were greatly missed.

    July 9, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  23. Terrence (Winston Salem, NC)

    Best wishes Ted Kennedy.

    July 9, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  24. Eileen

    How great to see you back and voting for a great cause! God Bless You! May you continue to improve!

    July 9, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  25. Anita from Arizona

    Welcome back, Senator.

    July 9, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
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