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Kennedy Won’t Return to the Senate Next Week

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), recently diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, will not return to the Senate next week, his office confirmed Friday. Kennedy, 76, suffered a seizure nearly two weeks ago at his family compound in Hyannis Port, Mass. Doctors later diagnosed the senior Massachusetts Senator with brain cancer. Melissa Wagoner, Kennedy’s spokeswoman, said that while Kennedy will not return to Washington next week, he is continuing his Senate duties. She said Kennedy, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has asked two of his senior committee colleagues — Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) — to help manage the load in the near term. “He’ll continue to work the phones to push his priorities of mental health parity and higher-ed reauthorization as the session resumes,” she said. “But because these two bills are near ready to move, he’s asked Mikulski and Dodd to help manage them on the Member level going forward.” Wagoner added: “Dodd and Mikulski are very able legislators in their own right and both offered to help in any way possible. Sen. Kennedy turned to them because he didn’t want his absence to slow progress just as these bills are nearing completion.”

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