Senator Ben Ray Luján, Democrat of New Mexico, suffered a stroke last week and is expected to make a full recovery, his chief of staff said Tuesday.
Luján, 49, underwent a self-examination at the hospital in Santa Fe, NM, on Thursday after experiencing dizziness and fatigue, before being transferred to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, Carlos Sanchez, said his director.
“Senator Luján was found to have suffered a stroke in the cerebellum, which affected his balance,” said Sanchez. said in a statement posted on the senator’s Twitter account. “As part of the treatment plan, he subsequently underwent decompression surgery to reduce swelling.”
“He is currently being cared for at UNM hospital, resting comfortably.”
Mr. Luján’s office did not say how long he could take the break, but with Senate With a fragile 50-50 majority of the Democratic Party, the prolonged absence of a member of the Democratic caucus has the potential to influence, or at least delay, Democratic legislation or elections. presidential nomination to the Senate without Republican support.
Several Democrats said on Tuesday they were relieved that Luján would recover, but declined to comment on the political impact of Luján’s stroke, telling reporters they were concerned mainly focused on his health and is still dealing with the news.
“It’s hard to gauge what it means here,” said Sen. Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat. “On a human level, that’s scary. It just reminds us all that good health is something we hope to be blessed with.”
Mr. Luján joined the Senate last year, taking the open seat of retired Senator Tom Udall after decades in the House, where he was considered the ultimate potential replacement for Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
During his first year in the Senate, Mr. Luján introduced a version of the Native American Voting Rights Act, a bill intended to reduce barriers to Native American voting access, a key constituency in his state.
At least one Republican expressed hope that concerns for Luján’s health could avoid any acrimony while the Senate continued its work.
“My hope is that we all love each other enough to just slow down, do the work we can get done so we won’t be affected by his passing and send him back to hell when he’s gone. it’s safe,” said Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota. He added, “My God, what the most beautiful guy in the world.”
But Mr. Luján’s absence comes at a critical time for Democrats in the Senate. President Biden swore that he would appoint a Supreme Court successor to Justice Stephen G. Breyer at the end of February. Although Mr. Luján is not a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which considers Supreme Court nominations before a full vote in the Senate, an extended absence could still make matters worse. order the nomination process if Republicans are united in opposition to the nominated candidate.
Sick legislators have jeopardized legislation in the past, especially in the Senate, where the loss of one vote could dramatically alter the balance of power.
The absence of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, on Capitol Hill as he battled brain cancer in 2009 complicated efforts to pass the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Kennedy died later that year, and was replaced by Scott Brown, a Republican, in a 2010 election, further thwarted efforts to pass the law.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/01/us/politics/ben-ray-lujan-stroke.html Senator Ben Ray Luján recovers from a stroke