Wyden Will Have Surgery Monday, Miss Votes

Posted December 16, 2010 at 4:33pm

Updated: 6:09 p.m.

Sen. Ron Wyden announced Thursday that he will undergo surgery next week to treat early-stage prostate cancer.

The Oregon Democrat said in a statement that he will have surgery Monday at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

“Thanks to routine screening, this was diagnosed very early and I expect a full and speedy recovery,” Wyden said.

He added: “I scheduled the surgery for the Monday before Christmas anticipating that the Senate would have recessed by that time and that there would be no disruption to my work in Oregon or Washington. However, it now appears that I will be missing votes tomorrow and possibly next week while I prepare and undergo this procedure. I expect to be back to work full-time when the Senate reconvenes in January.”

Wyden said his experience shows the importance of routine physicals.

“One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetimes,” he said. “Early detection is critical to catching this disease when treatment is most effective.”

Wyden’s absence from the Senate next week could complicate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) efforts to find the votes for a host of last-minute lame-duck legislative priorities, including repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay service members and this weekend’s expected votes on an omnibus spending bill.

Because ratification of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia only requires two-thirds of Senators present and voting, Reid will only need 66 votes to pass the bill, rather than the 67 normally needed when all 100 Senators vote. As a result, Wyden’s absence should not complicate passage of that measure.