Mississippi senator back at work, faces questions on health

FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, file photo, Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., speaks to supporters in Jackson, Miss. op Republicans are already coping with a razor-thin majority as they try pushing a contentious and partisan agenda through the Senate. Now, they’re running smack into another complicating factor _ the sheer age and health issues of some senators. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Longtime Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran is back at work in Washington after a health setback and facing questions about whether he’s up for the rigors of his job.

Entering the Capitol on Thursday for a vote, Cochran was asked about his fitness to continue serving. Frail and speaking softly, he told reporters that “it’s up for the people to decide” as aides ushered him into a Senate elevator.

Cochran, who turns 80 in December, returned on Tuesday after weeks away from Washington and his powerful chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee. The panel’s work has been delayed in Cochran’s absence.

He has spent the last month in Mississippi recuperating from a urinary tract infection.

At the White House, President Donald Trump said he had great respect for Cochran, praising his return.

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