John McCain, Fighting Brain Cancer, Likely to Miss Vote on Tax Overhaul


WASHINGTON — Senator John McCain of Arizona, who is battling brain cancer, appears likely to miss the Senate’s vote this week to approve a sweeping tax overhaul, though President Trump said on Sunday that the senator would return if his vote is needed.

The president indicated that Mr. McCain, who had been hospitalized in the Washington area, was returning home to Arizona. On Sunday, Mr. McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain wrote on Twitter, “My father is doing well and we are all looking forward to spending Christmas together in Arizona.”

Mr. McCain disclosed in July that he had an aggressive form of brain cancer, for which the median survival is not much more than a year. His office said on Wednesday that he was receiving treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for “normal side effects of his ongoing cancer therapy,” and he missed all of the Senate’s votes last week.

The absence of Mr. McCain, a Republican, is not expected to jeopardize passage of the tax overhaul, as party leaders won the support of two key holdouts on Friday and had appeared on track to have the support of all 52 Republican senators. The House and Senate are expected to approve the final tax bill by midweek.

Mr. Trump said he had spoken with Mr. McCain’s wife and wished her well.

“They’ve headed back, but I understand he’ll come if we ever needed his vote, which hopefully we won’t,” Mr. Trump said. “He’s going through a very tough time, there’s no question about it. But he will come back if we need his vote.”

Meghan McCain’s husband, the conservative writer Ben Domenech, said on Sunday that Mr. McCain was doing well, but noted that “oftentimes there are side effects to treatment that you have.”

“He is in good spirits, and he’s looking forward to heading back home to Arizona for the holidays,” Mr. Domenech said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Mr. McCain, he added, “remains one of the toughest men on the face of the earth.”

Mr. McCain’s position on the tax overhaul had been closely watched, as he sank his party’s effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act with a dramatic middle-of-the-night thumbs-down in July. He also voted against the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts that were enacted during the presidency of George W. Bush.

But Mr. McCain ended up voting in favor of the Senate’s version of the tax bill this month. He described the legislation as “far from perfect” but said it would improve the economy. He also said he was pleased that the bill was considered through the Senate’s committee process, a contrast with the effort to pass a health care bill over the summer.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A11 of the New York edition with the headline: McCain Likely to Miss Senate’s Tax Vote. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe


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