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

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCongress must use bipartisan oversight as the gold standard The Hill's Morning Report — Ford, Kavanaugh to testify Thursday as another accuser comes forward Trump hits McCain on ObamaCare vote 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 CornynFord's lawyer: Hearing doesn't appear to be designed for 'fair', 'respectful' treatment GOP opens door to holding Kavanaugh committee vote this week GOP senator accuses Dems of ‘character assassination’ on Kavanaugh MORE (Texas) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFord's lawyer: Hearing doesn't appear to be designed for 'fair', 'respectful' treatment GOP opens door to holding Kavanaugh committee vote this week Press: Judge Kavanaugh must withdraw 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 SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation 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 JohnsonKavanaugh, accuser to testify publicly on Monday Kavanaugh furor intensifies as calls for new testimony grow House panel advances DHS cyber vulnerabilities bills 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 CollinsRosenstein faces Trump showdown Kavanaugh: I'm asking for a 'fair process' Collins: Second Kavanaugh accuser should speak with Senate panel under oath  MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiPolice arrest 128 protesting Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill GOP launches counteroffensive on Kavanaugh Kavanaugh protesters descend on Collins, Flake offices on Capitol Hill MORE (Alaska) — so McCain’s vote was crucial.

Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceIndiana sisters with history of opposing Pence donate millions to Dems Hillicon Valley: Trump signs off on sanctions for election meddlers | Russian hacker pleads guilty over botnet | Reddit bans QAnon forum | FCC delays review of T-Mobile, Sprint merger | EU approves controversial copyright law Overnight Defense: Trump marks 9/11 anniversary | Mattis says Assad 'has been warned' on chemical weapons | US identifies first remains of returned Korean war troops MORE voted to break a 50-50 tie and approve the motion.