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Thad Cochran absent from Congress due to illness

Republican U.S. Senator Thad Cochran addresses supporters during an election night celebration after defeating Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel in a run-off election in Jackson, Mississippi June 24, 2014. REUTERS/Lee Celano

Republican U.S. Senator Thad Cochran addresses supporters during an election night celebration after defeating Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel in a run-off election in Jackson, Mississippi June 24, 2014. REUTERS/Lee Celano (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS) – GM1EA6P0YF001

WASHINGTON — Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran is continuing to grapple with a urinary tract infection that has delayed a planned return to Washington.

The GOP veteran, 79, has been absent from Washington for a month.

Cochran’s chief of staff Brad White came as Republicans controlling the Senate had hoped to pass a budget measure that’s a key step toward the party’s goal of rewriting the tax code. It’s unclear whether Cochran’s absence will delay the budget debate. Republicans control the Senate with a narrow 52-48 margin.

White said Cochran’s wife told him late Saturday that the infection had returned. His office had said last week that Cochran would return to work on Monday.

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