Cochran returns to Senate
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) returned to Washington on Tuesday after spending weeks on medical leave, easing pressure on Senate Republicans as they push to pass their budget resolution.
“I am pleased to be back in Washington where I look forward to continuing work on the 2018 appropriations bills and to taking part in the debate on the budget and tax cuts. I appreciate all the support and kind words I received while at home,” Cochran said in a statement released by his office.
Cochran’s absence had raised concern that Senate Republicans would struggle to advance their budget, a crucial step in the legislative strategy to pass tax reform.
Without Cochran, the GOP’s narrow 52-vote majority in the Senate left little room for error.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he would vote against the budget if defense spending levels were not reduced by $43 billion. With few other Republicans threatening to block the resolution, Cochran’s return to the Senate appears to assure the resolution’s passage.
Cochran remains under medical supervision for urological issues, according to a statement from his office, which could still affect his work schedule.
Cochran’s health became the subject of national discussion in recent weeks after President Trump falsely claimed that he had enough votes to pass legislation repealing ObamaCare and claimed that the GOP senator’s hospitalization blocked progress.
Cochran’s office swiftly noted that the senator was not hospitalized. Even with Cochran, the repeal efforts fell short of the necessary votes to pass in the Senate.
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