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Ted Kennedy May Return to Senate in June

By Dave Eberhart   |   Wednesday, 20 May 2009 12:10 PM

The ailing Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., is expected to return to duty in the Senate after the Memorial Day recess, say some of his colleagues in the chamber.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said this week in a report in The Hill that he spoke with Kennedy’s wife, Vicki, who told him the 77-year-old political icon is “doing fine” in his struggle with deadly brain cancer.

Meanwhile, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said, “There’s no evidence of it growing or any progression.” Noting that he saw Kennedy during the past month, Kerry said the senator looks "terrific."

“He’s engaged, working,” Kerry added.

That work for Kennedy includes the chairmanship of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. In that key capacity, he is expected to lead a markup of health reform legislation in the first month of his return to duty. The domestic initiative is a priority of President Barack Obama.

According to CNN reports, Kennedy was diagnosed a year ago with a deadly form of brain cancer — malignant glioma — a disease that kills most of the 9,000 people that suffer from it. He had successful neurological surgery in June.

Despite the glowing reports from Kennedy’s friends in the Senate, there apparently remains some room for wariness. According to The Hill, Reid advised that Kennedy is going through another protocol of treatment a week earlier than originally scheduled.

“This is something we expected,” he announced, according to the Hill report. He also confirmed that Kennedy’s cancer is in remission. “As far as I know it is, yes.”

Kennedy has been quietly in harness on the healthcare legislation — even giving up his seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee to target that narrow policy area, Kerry said.

A Kennedy aide, however, offered a no comment on the senator’s health, telling The Hill only: “The HELP Committee is on track for a markup in June but no definitive date in June has been set.”

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