Prayers for Senator Luján’s recovery. Frankly, as geriatric as the Senate is, I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often.
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, with his office saying he’s expected to make a full recovery.
“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.), who said he was very optimistic that the 49-year-old Luján would make a full recovery.
Underscoring the narrow majority, Democrats on the Commerce Committee, which Luján is a member of, almost immediately yanked three nominations that were expected to get votes on Wednesday. An aide noted that the agenda was being “recalibrated to take into consideration the need for all Democratic votes in order to move certain nominees forward.”
The announcement appeared to catch senators off guard.
“Oh my god. I didn’t know that,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat.