By Richard Cowan and James Oliphant
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator John McCain, recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, was given a hero’s welcome on his return to the Capitol on Tuesday, but quickly seized the opportunity to blister his party and his president for partisan politics.
Bruised and scarred from his recent surgery and flashing at times his characteristic self-deprecating humor, McCain spoke at length on the Senate floor, delivering a passionate rebuke of his fellow Republicans in Congress and an administration that has shown few results during Republican President Donald Trump’s first six months in office.
“We’re getting nothing done,” the 80-year-old senator lamented.
McCain made a dramatic return from his Arizona home to cast a critical vote to keep alive one of Trump’s top legislative priorities, the repeal of 2010’s Obamacare law, formally known as the Affordable Care Act.
McCain entered the Senate chamber to a standing ovation, with his vote helping Republicans open a floor debate, setting the stage for them to fashion a replacement for Obamacare.
After the vote, McCain took to the floor and urged his fellow Republicans to stand up to Trump, who has frequently chided the Republican-led Congress for failing to advance his agenda.
“We are not the president’s subordinates. We are his equals,” he said to a smattering of applause in the chamber.
McCain, who has served in the Senate for 30 years and ran unsuccessfully for president in 2008 against Barack Obama, has frequently criticized the Trump administration, particularly on issues of foreign policy and national security.
Most of his remarks on Tuesday, however, were directed at his fellow senators. He blasted the process through which Senate Republicans crafted their healthcare legislation, shutting out Democrats and writing the bill out of public view.
McCain has repeatedly said that Democrats did little better in 2010, when Obamacare was passed, and added, “We shouldn’t…