Las Vegas Sun

September 20, 2019

Currently: 82° — Complete forecast

John McCain, fighting brain cancer, likely to miss vote on tax overhaul

John McCain

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., arrives at the Capitol for a weekly Republican policy meeting, in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, amid the diminishing, last-ditch GOP push to overhaul the nation’s health care system.

Sen. John McCain, who is battling brain cancer, has returned home to Arizona and is likely to miss the Senate’s vote this week to approve a sweeping tax overhaul, though President Donald Trump said Sunday that the senator would return if his vote was needed.

McCain’s office said in a statement Sunday night that the senator, who had been hospitalized recently in the Washington area, would undergo physical therapy and rehabilitation at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona and “looks forward to returning to Washington in January.”

“He is grateful for the excellent care he continues to receive, and appreciates the outpouring of support from people all over the country,” the statement said.

McCain disclosed in July that he had an aggressive form of brain cancer, for which the median survival is not much more than a year. His office had said Wednesday that he was receiving treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for “normal side effects of his ongoing cancer therapy,” and he missed all of the Senate’s votes last week.

In a statement provided by McCain’s office Sunday, Dr. Mark R. Gilbert, chief of the neuro-oncology branch at the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute, offered an upbeat assessment of the senator’s health.

“Senator McCain has responded well to treatment he received at Walter Reed Medical Center for a viral infection and continues to improve,” Gilbert said. “An evaluation of his underlying cancer shows he is responding positively to ongoing treatment.”

The absence of McCain, a Republican, is not expected to jeopardize passage of the tax overhaul, as party leaders appeared on track to have the support of all 52 Republican senators. The House and Senate are expected to approve the final tax bill by midweek.

Trump said he had spoken with McCain’s wife and wished her well.

“They’ve headed back, but I understand he’ll come if we ever needed his vote, which hopefully we won’t,” Trump said. “He’s going through a very tough time, there’s no question about it. But he will come back if we need his vote.”