After a day of speculation, Senator John McCain’s office has announced he will return to Congress in time for Tuesday’s vote to begin a debate on the GOP healthcare bill. McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer on the 19th of July, discovered after procedure to remove a blood clot from behind his eye.
McCain’s team posted confirmation on Twitter and released a statement regarding the senator’s goals upon his return:
Senator McCain looks forward to returning to the United States Senate tomorrow to continue working on important legislation, including health care reform, the National Defense Authorization Act, and new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea.”
While McCain’s return is admirable, it does come with various questions regarding his effectiveness and where he will vote on the healthcare debate. The Washington Post notes that the news of his return has sparked “motivation” behind the bill and could help ease the pressure of collecting enough votes. It still won’t be easy, but McCain’s presence gives Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a sliver of breathing room. That said, McCain’s position on the bill isn’t entirely clear and his presence might not ensure its passage.
While McConnell delayed the vote until McCain could return from his surgery, that was before the senator was diagnosed with cancer. McCain also released a statement on the proposed healthcare plan two days before his diagnosis that cast doubts on his support for the vote:
One of the major problems with Obamacare was that it was written on a strict party-line basis and driven through Congress without a single Republican vote. As this law continues to crumble in Arizona and states across the country, we must not repeat the original mistakes that led to Obamacare’s failure. The Congress must now return to regular order, hold hearings, receive input from members of both parties, and heed the recommendations of our nation’s governors so that we can produce a bill that finally provides Americans with access to quality and affordable health care.
The New York Times claims that McCain was expected to vote for the House version of the bill, so it really will be a situation where all eyes might be on the floor of the Senate. McCain could receive an expected hero’s welcome from his colleagues and then proceed to vote yes on a bill that will reportedly still leave 22 million without health insurance.
Before making this decision, McCain did enjoy a few moments of relaxation with a friend on Sunday.