Democratic Sen. Ben Ray Lujan expected back to work in 4-6 weeks after surgery for stroke


Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., conducts a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center to announce a new infrastructure investment framework on Wednesday, January 29, 2020.

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New Mexico Sen. Ben Ray Lujan is expected to return to Congress next month after suffering a stroke last week and undergoing brain surgery, a senior aide to the senator told CNBC on Wednesday.

Lujan, a 49-year-old Democrat who was sworn into the Senate last year, is currently hospitalized in Albuquerque following decompressive surgery to ease swelling after suffering a stroke in his cerebellum, his office said Tuesday.

The senator first began feeling dizzy and fatigued early Thursday morning, five days before his current condition was revealed. He is “resting comfortably, and expected to make a full recovery,” his chief of staff, Carlos Sanchez, said in a press release Tuesday afternoon.

Lujan is expecting to return to the Senate in four to six weeks, barring any additional medical complications, the senior aide said.

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With Lujan absent, Democrats lose their razor-thin majority in the Senate. President Joe Biden and his allies in Congress are gearing up to nominate and confirm a new Supreme Court justice following the announcement of Stephen Breyer’s retirement. But if no Republicans back the president’s pick, Democrats will need all 50 senators, plus Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote, to confirm the nominee.

Biden has vowed to pick a Black woman to replace Breyer. He said he expects to announce his nominee by the end of this month. In modern decades, it has taken 41 days on average for the Senate to begin hearings on a Supreme Court nominee after the president submits his selection, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., plans to head to the White House on Wednesday to discuss the Supreme Court with the president, a source familiar told CNBC.

It was unclear if Biden and Schumer also planned to discuss Lujan’s condition. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters earlier Wednesday afternoon that the president has not yet spoken with Lujan “at this point.”

“We are all thinking about him and his family,” Psaki said.

This article was originally published on CNBC