Democratic New Mexico Sen. Ben Ray Lujan suffered a stroke that has put President Joe Biden’s agenda at risk until he recovers. Lujan is expected to make a full recovery, he is only 49, but with no votes to spare Biden’s agenda could be stalled until he recovers.
Some Dem Senators were shocked at the news and were hearing about the stroke, which happened Thursday, for the first time from reporters today. They seemed worried this could imperil their slim majority.
“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.”
“It’s devastating. And the only silver lining is that there’ll be a path to a full recovery,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). “What a shock on an otherwise quiet afternoon.”
Democratic Sen. Chris Coons said, “Today we should be focused on Ben Ray’s health and his family and his recovery but it is a reminder that in a 50-50 Senate with important work in front of us, any unforeseen or difficult developments can make that harder.”
“He should be out pretty quickly,” said Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).
— Senator Ben Ray Luján (@SenatorLujan) February 1, 2022
“It shouldn’t affect the agenda too much. The key thing is that they recognized the symptoms fairly quickly.”
“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.”
“I just think it’s too early to say,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) about how this would affect Biden’s agenda.
“We just don’t know any more than what is in his statement,” he added.
Luján’s chief of staff said in a statement:
“As part of his treatment plan, he subsequently underwent decompressive surgery to ease swelling.
“He is currently being cared for at UNM hospital, resting comfortably, and expected to make a full recovery.”
Jen Psaki said:
“I know his team put out an update on his recovery last night, and he’s 49 years old. So, I would also note that, but I would point you to them for any specifics on his status.
Of course, we’re thinking about him, his family, his entire team, at this point in time.
“Well, life is precious, as we know. You are most familiar with the average age of senators in the Senate, but that is true on both sides of the aisle.
“I would just say, we spend most of our time engaging in good faith about the president’s agenda and not making those calculations.”