“Democrats on the Commerce Committee, which Luján is a member of, almost immediately yanked three nominations that were expected to get votes on Wednesday”
Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) suffered a stroke this week and is expected to make a full recovery, but the news of his condition sent a wave of panic through the Democratic party.
This was a reminder that they are just one vote away from losing their majority.
Jordain Carney writes at The Hill:
Luján stroke jolts 50-50 Senate
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.”
Politico has more, including reactions from other Democrats:
Several senators didn’t know about Luján’s diagnosis until reporters asked about when he’d return. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) responded: “Oh, my God,” when a reporter informed him of the news. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), meanwhile, said he wasn’t sure most of the Democratic caucus knew.
“Jesus. He had a stroke? First I’ve heard of it,” said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.).”Oh, my God. I’ll find out. I did not know that, wow. It makes me worried about him, he’s too young for that stuff.”…
“We’re in a 50-50 Senate, for any of us, at any time. We saw when a member gets Covid what happens in terms of the schedule,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). “We’re all human beings, something could happen at any time.”
When Luján returns to the Senate, expect to see Democrats try to put their agenda and confirmations on a fast track.
This was a wake-up call.
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