Washington: Applause and whoops greeted Senator John McCain, who is battling brain cancer, as he returned to the Capitol Wednesday to vote for moving ahead on legislation to dismantle Obamacare.
The 80-year-old McCain had a visible scar above his left eye after doctors removed a blood clot earlier in July. Days after the surgery, the senator disclosed that he had a brain tumour and had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.
"Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio, TV and internet. To hell with them!" the feisty McCain said in a speech on the Senate floor.
He bemoaned the lack of legislative action in Congress. McCain also said he would not vote for the current GOP version of the repeal and replace bill.
McCain drew a standing ovation after his remarks. He had cast his vote to take up the health care bill, delivering for his party and President Donald Trump on the issue that's defined the Republican for the past seven years.
"He's tough as a boot," said Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana. "Many people understandably would be curled up in bed in the fetal position."
McCain himself campaigned heavily on the "Obamacare" repeal issue in 2016 as he won re-election to a sixth and almost certainly final Senate term. And there could be sweet revenge in defying cancer to undo the signature legislation of the man who beat him for the presidency in 2008, Barack Obama.
The Arizona senator would also deliver a key victory to President Donald Trump, despite emerging as one of the president's most outspoken GOP critics on Capitol Hill. During last year's campaign Trump shockingly ridiculed McCain over his years as a POW during the Vietnam War.
And the situation was eerily reminiscent of a similar scenario involving McCain's good friend, the late Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts (no relation to the current Senator Kennedy), who returned to the Senate in July 2008 while battling brain cancer to vote on Medicare legislation, his dramatic entry in the chamber eliciting cheers and applause. Ted Kennedy died of cancer in August 2009.
Updated Date: Jul 26, 2017 09:12:33 IST