Kennedy Returns To Senate Floor To Usher In Medicare Vote: UPDATED With VIDEO

Huffington Post:

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Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) returned to the Senate Wednesday to break a stalemate on critical stalled Medicare legislation, making his first appearance on the Hill since he was diagnosed with brain cancer two months ago

CNN reported earlier that the return was in doubt because his family was concerned the travel would be too strenuous.

Senate Republicans have been stalling legislation that would reverse a cut in doctors' Medicare fees by reducing payments to insurance companies. Earlier, in an unusual move, House Republicans defied their leadership and supported the Democratic measure.

In addition to Kennedy's vote, several Republican Senators switched their votes and the legislation moved past a procedural hurdle, 69-23. Sen. John McCain skipped the vote.

Both HuffPo and ThinkProgress have video of the event (so will we shortly). It was an electrifying moment to watch Kennedy walk across the floor:

Today, the Senate chamber erupted into loud cheers when Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) returned to cast his vote on long-stalled Medicare legislation. Senators gave Kennedy, who has been battling a brain tumor, a long standing ovation. As he registered his vote, Kennedy said in a loud voice, “Aye,” and made a thumbs-up gesture.

And God love Pete Stark:

Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) puts out a statement ripping McCain: "Senator Kennedy managed to make it back from treatment for cancer, but Senator McCain couldn't be bothered. Senator McCain, who wants to be our next President, has skipped this vote three times now. Clearly, he'd rather hide than face up to the insurance industry. You can do that when you're in the U.S. Senate, maybe voters should leave him there."


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