Kirk offers tribute to 'stroke battle buddy' Johnson

Greg Nash

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) delivered a touching tribute to retiring Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) at Thursday's Senate Appropriations Committee meeting.

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Both senators were able to return to their duties after suffering massive strokes: Johnson in 2006 and Kirk six years later.

The panel was voting on the 2015 spending bill, authored by Johnson and Kirk, for the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs.

Kirk recalled that after he suffered a stroke, he watched as much video as he could of Johnson, whom he described as his "stroke battle buddy," for inspiration.

"I constantly asked myself, 'are you as good as Sen. Tim Johnson?' " Kirk said. "God, gosh guy — I am going to miss you."