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Kennedy Still Absent, but Engaged in Health Debate

Sen. Edward Kennedy (Mass.) is not expected to return to Washington, D.C., this week, but according to his spokesman, the long-serving Democrat will still have a hand in shaping health care legislation as the Senate preps for that debate later this summer. “He’s been a leader on this issue for 40 years, and he continues to lead,— spokesman Anthony Coley said. “That doesn’t depend on location.—Kennedy, who was diagnosed last year with a malignant brain tumor, “is doing well and continues to balance his work on health reform with his treatment plan,— Coley added. Indeed, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chairman “had a very productive meeting— with Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) in Massachusetts on Monday, Coley said, where the two discussed health care. Dodd has been tapped to fill in for Kennedy as the lead HELP Committee member on health care. The Connecticut Senator is likely to lead the panel’s hearing on the subject Thursday.

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