It’s official: Franken makes 60 for Dems

Former comedian Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart Franken100 days after House passage, Gillibrand calls on Senate to act on sexual harassment reform Eric Schneiderman and #MeToo pose challenges for both parties Senate confirms Trump judicial pick over objections of home-state senator 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 says 'enough is enough' after Santa Fe school shooting Zinke provided restricted site tours to friends: report Democrat wins Philadelphia-area state House seat for the first time in decades 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 KlobucharHillicon Valley: Lawmakers target Chinese tech giants | Dems move to save top cyber post | Trump gets a new CIA chief | Ryan delays election security briefing | Twitter CEO meets lawmakers Twitter CEO meets with lawmakers to talk net neutrality, privacy GOP, Dem lawmakers come together for McCain documentary 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. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer: GOP efforts to identify FBI informant 'close to crossing a legal line' Patients deserve the 'right to try' How the embassy move widens the partisan divide over Israel 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.”