McCain, in hero's return to Senate, calls for bipartisanship

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 25, 2017 4:16 PM

By Richard Cowan and James Oliphant

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senator John McCain, diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, was given a hero’s welcome on his return to the Capitol on Tuesday, but quickly seized the opportunity to blister his party and his president for partisan politics.

Bruised and scarred from his recent surgery and flashing at times his characteristic self-deprecating humor, McCain spoke at length on the Senate floor, delivering a passionate rebuke of his fellow Republicans in Congress and an administration that has shown few results during Republican President Donald Trump's first six months in office.

"We're getting nothing done," the 80-year-old senator lamented.

McCain made a dramatic return from his Arizona home to cast a critical vote to keep alive one of Trump’s top legislative priorities, the repeal of 2010's Obamacare law, formally known as the Affordable Care Act.

McCain entered the Senate chamber to a standing ovation, with his vote helping Republicans open a floor debate, setting the stage for them to fashion a legislative replacement for Obamacare.

The senator blasted the process through which Republicans have crafted their healthcare legislation, shutting out Democrats and writing the bill out of public view. While Democrats did little better in 2010, McCain said, "We shouldn't do the same with ours."

He called on the Senate to make a renewed commitment to bipartisanship.

“I hope we can again rely on humility, on our need to cooperate, on our dependence on each other to learn how to trust each other again and by so doing better serve the people who elected us," McCain said.

"Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and television and the internet. To hell with them. They don’t want anything done for the public good."

Earlier this month, after surgery to remove a blood clot above his eye, McCain was diagnosed with a primary glioblastoma, a highly aggressive type of brain tumor. He has been discussing treatment options with his medical team.

He said he would remain in Washington for a few days before returning to Arizona for treatment.

(Reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb, Richard Cowan, and James Oliphant; Writing by James Oliphant; Editing by Kieran Murray)