Kennedy Out for the Year
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the nine-term Massachusetts Democrat currently being treated for a cancerous brain tumor, will not return to Capitol Hill this year, Congressional Quarterly reported today:
“As Sen. Kennedy said two weeks ago in Denver, he intends to be on the floor of the United States Senate next January, when we begin to write the next great chapter of American progress,” said Kennedy spokesman Anthony Coley. “Sen. Kennedy’s doctors are pleased with his progress so far and have recommended that he continue to work from home through the fall.”
Because Democratic leaders have low expectations about what legislative accomplishments are possible for the rest of the year, Kennedy’s absence won’t likely be significant as it pertains to individual votes.
And if it were to become an issue, who knows how Kennedy would react?
The 76-year-old has already astounded observers with two surprise public appearances earlier this year: the first in Washington in July to cast the deciding vote on a tight Medicare bill; the second last month in Denver to deliver a fiery, if short, speech before the Democrat faithful gathered for the party’s convention.
The message is clear: Kennedy may be ill, but he’ll be there if the party needs him.