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Sen. Luján says he'll return in 'a few short weeks' to vote on Supreme Court pick

The 49-year-old Democrat from New Mexico had a stroke last month and underwent surgery.
Rep. Ben Ray Luján leaves the House Democrats' caucus meeting in the Capitol on Sept. 11, 2019. Bill Clark / AP file

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., says he plans to return to the Capitol in time for a vote on a Supreme Court nominee after having a stroke late last month.

“I am doing well, I am strong, I am back on the road to recovery," Luján said in a nearly six-minute video with his doctors from the University of New Mexico Hospital. "And I am going to make a full recovery. I am going to walk out of here and I am going to beat this. And I am going to be stronger once I come out."

Luján, 49, said that after he leaves the hospital, he will continue his recovery at an in-patient rehabilitation facility.

“Now I am proud to report then I will be back on the floor of the United States Senate in just a few short weeks to vote on important legislation and to consider a Supreme Court nominee," Luján said in the video, which he posted Sunday on Twitter. "Now, rest assured, New Mexicans can know they will have a voice and a vote during this process. That has never changed.”

He said he looks forward to being out on his mountain bike and cooking again soon.

Luján experienced dizziness and fatigue on Jan. 27 and checked himself into the hospital, his chief of staff, Carlos Sanchez, said earlier this month. Doctors determined that he suffered a stroke in the cerebellum, affecting his balance. His office said he was expected to make a full recovery.

Lujan's absence has posed a challenge for Democrats who lack the 50 votes needed for any purely partisan votes because they operate in an evenly split Senate. While he is away, Democrats will find it difficult to prevail on any simple-majority votes if they encounter unified GOP opposition.

Unlike the House, the Senate does not allow proxy voting for floor votes.

Democrats would not need any Republican votes to confirm President Joe Biden’s eventual Supreme Court nominee so long as the party is unified in its support and if all 50 members of the Democratic caucus are present.

Biden has indicated that he plans to name his pick before March.