Sen. Ben Ray Luján: ‘Absolute Honor to Be Again’ After Stroke

WASHINGTON (AP) – Democratic Sen. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico returned to Congress on Thursday for the primary time since he had a stroke, which saved him away from Washington for weeks and quickly weakened Democrat’s maintain on energy within the equally divided Senate.

Luján obtained a standing ovation as he entered a morning listening to of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Teary-eyed, he thanked colleagues for his or her assist and informed them: “It is an absolute honor to be again.”

“Each one among you that despatched me notes, that despatched movies, and all of the prayers – it labored,” Luján mentioned.

Luján, 49, started experiencing dizziness and fatigue on Jan. 27 and checked himself right into a hospital in Santa Fe, New Mexico, his workplace mentioned. He was identified as having had a stroke within the cerebellum and he had surgical procedure to ease swelling in his mind.

His sudden absence had put new pressure on Democrats’ fragile 50-50 majority within the Senate, leaving them with out full day-to-day management of the chamber and placing President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda and Supreme Courtroom nomination doubtful. However Luján, in a video message in February. vowed to return after a number of weeks of restoration at inpatient rehabilitation facility.

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In a 50-50 Senate, Luján’s vote might show vital if Democrats have to verify Supreme Courtroom nominee Kentanji Brown Jackson with out the assistance of Republicans. His return might additionally assist jump-start work on different laws and nominations that Republicans oppose.

Elected to the Senate in 2020, Luján is a quiet however well-known lawmaker on Capitol Hill who helped lead Democrats to the Home majority with its record-breaking class of freshmen recruits heading the marketing campaign committee in the course of the 2018 election yr. Senators from each events had been pulling for his restoration.

“We love you Ben Ray and we’re glad you are with us right here right this moment,” Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Mentioned on the listening to.

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