McCain returns to applause, casts deciding vote to advance healthcare bill

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOvernight Defense: Pompeo lays out new Iran terms | Pentagon hints at more aggressive posture against Iran | House, Senate move on defense bill Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Sarah Sanders: ‘Democrats are losing their war against women in the Trump administration’ MORE (R-Ariz.), in dramatic fashion, emerged on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon to a standing ovation from his colleagues to cast the deciding vote to begin the healthcare debate.

McCain walked onto the floor through the chamber’s East door as Republican and Democratic colleagues stood to applaud his return to work after being diagnosed with brain cancer last week.

The 80-year-old lawmaker, looking pale and with a wan smile, waved to his colleagues and touched his left breast, over his heart, to acknowledge them.

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He had a two- to three-inch scar over his left eye, where surgeons performed an emergency craniotomy over a week ago to remove a blood clot.

McCain then shook hands with Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn CornynPressure rising on GOP after Trump–DOJ fight’s latest turn Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA This week: House GOP regroups after farm bill failure MORE (Texas) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenators near deal on sexual harassment policy change Blankenship third-party bid worries Senate GOP Overnight Finance: Trump signs repeal of auto-loan policy | Justices uphold contracts that bar employee class-action suits | US, China trade war 'on hold' MORE (R-Ky.) before casting a crucial vote to begin debate on House-passed legislation repealing and replacing major parts of ObamaCare.

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Finance: Trump signs repeal of auto-loan policy | Justices uphold contracts that bar employee class-action suits | US, China trade war 'on hold' Free traders applaud Trump as China tariff threat recedes The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Frenzy over Kennedy retirement rumors | Trump challenges DOJ MORE (N.Y.), who worked closely with McCain on immigration legislation, was so touched by the moment that he hugged McCain — even though Democrats staunchly oppose the GOP healthcare reform effort.

McCain cast the 49th vote to advance the measure and was immediately followed by Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSenate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Continued efforts to pass 'right to try' legislation should fail GOP, Dem lawmakers come together for McCain documentary MORE (R-Wis.), who cast the 50th vote to begin the floor debate.

Two Republicans voted against the motion to proceed — Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsPressure rising on GOP after Trump–DOJ fight’s latest turn Trump's plan to claw back spending hits wall in Congress Dem rep to launch discharge petition to force net neutrality vote in House MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiKeeping Pruitt could cost GOP Congress, Trump in the fall Trump's plan to claw back spending hits wall in Congress GOP, Dem lawmakers come together for McCain documentary MORE (Alaska) — so McCain’s vote was crucial.

Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePence: North Korea will 'end like the Libyan model' if Kim does not cooperate Five Republican run-offs to watch in Texas Stone vows to run candidate against Pence if VP makes 2020 bid MORE voted to break a 50-50 tie and approve the motion.