House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., announced Saturday that he will begin treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
The top GOP tax writer in the House released a statement that said he will undergo chemotherapy and other treatment every three weeks over the course of the next several months.
"After a recent routine yearly physical, it was discovered that I have a very early, highly treatable and curable type of non-Hodgkins lymphoma – large B-cell lymphoma," the statement said. "Thankfully my health is otherwise excellent and my doctors and I expect a full recovery and cure. My family and I appreciate the support, good wishes and understanding we have received.”
The announcement comes just before lawmakers leave for August recess, providing Camp an opportunity to begin his treatment from his home in Michigan's 4th district. According to the Mayo Clinic, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a form of cancer that begins in the lymphatic system and causes a certain type of white blood cells to form tumors. The portion of all patients who survive at least five years after their diagnosis is 67 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.
His illness and expected absences for treatment could prove difficult for Republican leaders during the upcoming tax debate, but Camp and GOP leaders have turned their attention to his health.
“Anyone who has the privilege to know Dave Camp will tell you he is as tough and determined as they come," said House Speaker John Boehner in a statement. "I’m honored to call Dave a friend, and have no doubt he’ll whip this with characteristic strength and grace. Today I extend to Chairman Camp and his family the support and prayers of the whole House, which will stand with him just as he has always stood with us.”
Camp is the sponsor of the GOP bill to extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts – including the wealthiest Americans -- that is scheduled for a vote next week. He was also the author of the most prominent corporate tax reform plan released this year.
A Camp aide said Saturday that he will be in Washington for the week, and that Camp will be handling the Republican side of the House floor debate in the tax battle.
The Democratic-led Senate has already defeated that GOP alternative, and this week instead passed a plan to extend the tax cuts on incomes under $250,000 for a couple and $200,000 for an individual.
The stand-off will leave a real resolution of the tax issue unlikely until later this year. But setting the stage for their campaigns, Democrats next week on the floor will tout their bill as a tax cut for 98 percent of Americans and a compromise solution for averting the so-called fiscal cliff next year, while Republicans will continue to argue that any tax cuts should not be imposed in a slow recovery for the weak economy.
And it is Camp who will be in the middle of that debate. It is uncertain to what extent the announcement about his health might soften what had previously been anticipated to be some sharp partisan rhetoric on the House floor.