Georgia U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson plans to make a full-time return to Capitol Hill next week, kicking off the final stretch of a 45-year political career that he’s winding down in the face of mounting health problems.
Isakson’s office said the Republican’s Aug. 26 surgery to remove a malignant 2.3-centimeter renal cell carcinoma was successful. Renal cell carcinoma is a common type of kidney cancer.
The senator is also wrapping up physical therapy this week after fracturing four ribs and tearing his rotator cuff in a fall July 16.
He’s slated to return to Washington on Monday, when the Senate reconvenes from its August recess.
“With the mounting health challenges I am facing, I have concluded that I will not be able to do the job over the long term in the manner the citizens of Georgia deserve,” Isakson said last week, an announcement that prompted a deluge of well wishes from officials from across the political spectrum.
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Even after he concludes his physical therapy, Isakson will have exercises to conduct on his own once he returns to Washington. He’s still contending with soreness in his right shoulder because of his torn rotator cuff, and his recovery is made more complicated by his progressing Parkinson’s disease. Isakson’s kidneys will not require additional treatment, his office said, but he’ll be screened every 90 days as a precaution.
With 16 weeks left on Capitol Hill, Isakson has an ambitious legislative to-do list.
He’s hoping to secure additional federal funding for the Savannah port in the upcoming government spending package, as well as accelerate the delivery of disaster relief funding to Georgia farmers still reeling from Hurricane Michael. There’s also two pending federal judicial nominees from Georgia, as well as his unfinished work on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
“I’m not counting, but four months and two days,” he told the AJC last week about his time left in Washington.