Luján stroke jolts 50-50 Senate

Washington DC: News of Sen. Ben Ray Luján’s (D-N.M.) stroke sent shockwaves through the Senate on Tuesday, underscoring the fragility of Democrats’ 50-50 majority.

Democrats are in the majority because they have 50 seats and the ability for Vice President Harris to break a tie. Luján’s absence leaves them at 49 seats until he returns.

New Mexico Sen. Ben Ray Luján, who suffered a stroke last Thursday and is recovering in an Albuquerque hospital, is expected back at work in four to six weeks barring any unforeseen complications.

“It’s just a reminder that in a 50-50 Senate any unexpected development could be a challenge to our moving forward on an agenda that the Democratic caucus shares,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.).

Democrats are currently plowing through 20 nominees that Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has teed up for votes, which is expected to eat up the Senate floor till next week.

Democrats can confirm Biden’s nominees without Lujan at the moment because of the GOP absences. If all GOP senators are present, they’ll need Republican help to confirm the nominees.

Other key pieces of the Democratic agenda are in limbo anyways, meaning they won’t be impacted by Luján’s absence. There are also bipartisan discussions happening on Russia sanctions and reforming the Electoral Count Act as well as a looming deadline to fund the government by Feb. 18.

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