It’s official: Franken makes 60 for Dems

Former comedian Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenGOP eying 'blue slip' break to help Trump fill the courts Overnight Regulation: FTC launches probe into Equifax | Dems propose tougher data security rules | NYC aims to slash greenhouse gas emissions | EPA to reconsider Obama coal ash rule Overnight Cybersecurity: Kaspersky to testify before House | US sanctions Iranians over cyberattacks | Equifax reveals flaw that led to hack MORE officially became Minnesota’s junior senator on Tuesday, continuing his policy of silence and seriousness but giving the Democratic Party a critical 60-seat Senate majority.

Franken was sworn in twice by Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenBiden slams Trump over golf gif hitting Clinton Overnight Tech: Equifax hit by earlier undisclosed hack | Facebook takes heat over Russian ads | Alt-right Twitter rival may lose domain Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE, first officially in the Senate chamber and then again in a mock ceremony down the hall in the Old Senate Chamber for photographers. He was accompanied by his wife, Frannie, his son Joe, his daughter Thomasin, his brother-in-law Neal, sister-in-law Carla, fellow Minnesota Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharWeek ahead: Crunch time for defense bill’s cyber reforms | Equifax under scrutiny Some Dems sizzle, others see their stock fall on road to 2020 Consumers the big winners of Amazon-Whole Foods merger MORE (D) and former Vice President Walter Mondale (D). Minnesota Reps. Jim Oberstar (D) and Collin Peterson (D) also made brief appearances.

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Wearing a dark suit and a dark red-striped tie, Franken played it straight and avoided his trademark humor — leaving comic relief to Biden. Several minutes late to the swearing-in ceremony, the vice president said loudly upon entering the Old Senate Chamber, “It’s Schumer’s fault,” referring to Sen. Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill This week: Senate wrapping up defense bill after amendment fight Cuomo warns Dems against cutting DACA deal with Trump MORE (D-N.Y.).

Franken did not speak to reporters, but ate lunch with his new Democratic colleagues and has an open-house event for Minnesota constituents planned for Wednesday. He is eligible to vote on Senate business immediately.

As expected, Franken has been assigned to the Judiciary Committee, Indian Affairs Committee and Aging Committee. He will also sit on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee once the panel finishes marking up the healthcare reform legislation.

Mondale, who in 2002 briefly ran for the seat that Franken wrested from Republican Norm Coleman after an eight-month legal battle, told The Hill that Franken will be a “very strong, very smart” senator.

“This two-year campaign, as tough as it's been, has made him tougher and more ready to get started here,” he said. “He and Amy will make a great team.”

Asked if Franken may have to struggle for legitimacy because of his background as a comedian, Mondale simply noted that celebrities are no strangers to the Senate.

“The details are different, but there’s a lot of them here,” he said. “Are they here to repeat an old career, or are they here to be senators? I don’t think Franken has left any doubt that he’s here to be a serious senator. That will be accepted.”

Klobuchar, who was Minnesota’s sole senator during the past eight months, also said Franken isn’t in the Senate for laughs.

“He’s going to buckle down and get back to work. That’s what he’s told me, and you can already see it happening,” she said. “If people from the national media expected some laugh riot, that’s not how he’s been through the campaign, that’s not how he’s been the last six months. He’s just going to get to work.”