Luján out for next 4-6 weeks

Sen. Ben Lujan (D-N.M.)
Greg Nash

Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) is expected to return to the Senate within four to six weeks, barring complications, after suffering a stroke, aides confirmed to The Hill. 

The news of Luján’s potential return comes after his staff announced on Thursday that he had been hospitalized after suffering the stroke last week but is expected to make a full recovery. 

The first-term senator’s absence shocked many of his colleagues, who appeared to learn the news through reporters.

In a 50-50 Senate, his time away also threatens to leave Democrats’ agenda in limbo until he returns.

Democrats still technically outnumber GOP senators for now because both Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) are absent because of the coronavirus.

However, both Hoeven and Romney are expected to return next week. 

Luján’s absence already caused Democrats to shuffle their schedule in the Commerce Committee, pulling three nominees who they will need Lujàn’s vote to confirm.  

Democrats will also need Luján to return in order to confirm a Supreme Court nominee unless whoever Biden nominates can pick up GOP support. Biden is expected to name someone by the end of the month. 

“All of us are hopeful and optimistic that he will be back to his old self before long,” said Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).  

“In the meantime, the U.S. Senate will continue to move forward in carrying out its business on behalf of the American people,” Schumer said.

A spokesman for Schumer said that Lujàn’s absence “is not expected to affect the Senate’s timeline for moving a SCOTUS nominee.”

Updated: 8:05 p.m.

Tags 50-50 Senate Ben Ray Lujan Chuck Schumer confirmation John Hoeven Mitt Romney Senate Stroke Supreme Court

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