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News: House Majority Leader Steve Scalise has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer.
Scalise, 57, has been hospitalized for several days as he underwent tests. The Louisiana Republican fell ill on the campaign trail.
Here’s his full statement:
“After a few days of not feeling like myself this past week, I had some blood work done. The results uncovered some irregularities and after undergoing additional tests, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a very treatable blood cancer.
“I have now begun treatment, which will continue for the next several months. I expect to work through this period and intend to return to Washington, continuing my work as Majority Leader and serving the people of Louisiana’s First Congressional District.
“I am incredibly grateful we were able to detect this early and that this cancer is treatable. I am thankful for my excellent medical team, and with the help of God, support of my family, friends, colleagues, and constituents, I will tackle this with the same strength and energy as I have tackled past challenges.”
Scalise, who was elected in 2008, has had a meteoric rise through the House Republican leadership ranks. Five years after coming to Congress in a special election to replace former Rep. Bobby Jindal (R-La.), Scalise became chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee. He was an outspoken critic of former President Barack Obama and the Affordable Care Act.
In 2014, after then House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated in a primary and stepped down from leadership, Scalise launched a underdog bid for majority whip, taking on former Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.). Roskam had served as the chief deputy whip to Kevin McCarthy, then the GOP’s chief vote counter. Scalise’s leadership campaign moved quickly and he dispatched Roskam without much of a sweat. McCarthy notably didn’t back Roskam.
On June 14, 2017, a deranged gunman shot Scalise during a congressional baseball practice in Virginia. Scalise has undergone numerous surgeries over the last several years to repair severe damage from the gunshot that traveled through his body.
On Sept. 28, 2017, Scalise returned to the Capitol and got a long standing ovation. That Scalise was able to walk again was an incredible feat. He has since essentially regained full mobility and is McCarthy’s No. 2.
– Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images.
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