Songs help Schumer keep the Democrats together
WASHINGTON — Over the past week, as Senate Republicans feverishly cobbled together their doomed health care bill, Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, made several quiet visits to the private “hideaway” office of John McCain, R-Ariz., near the Senate chamber on the Capitol’s first floor. McCain, who recently received a brain cancer diagnosis, was nervous about the bill, which he thought would harm people in his state, and elegiac about members of his storied family, reminiscing about them at some length.
During those visits and in several phone calls, Schumer, who had led Democrats in a moment of prayer for McCain, assured him that they would have the 80-yearold senator’s back in his quest for bipartisan legislation should the health repeal fail — including making sure McCain’s beloved defense bill was passed.
“To me it was poignant,” said Schumer, who choked up on the Senate floor early Friday when talking about McCain. It was McCain who cast the decisive vote that led to the health care bill’s demise.
“It reminded me of going to Ted Kennedy’s hideaway and talking to him when he was ill, when he would show me pictures on