In this file photo, U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) listens as U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris gives remarks at the top of a roundtable on high-speed internet with members of Congress in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on May 26, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON — New Mexico Democratic Sen. Ben Ray Luján said he plans to return to the U.S. Capitol in time to vote for the president’s Supreme Court nominee, following a recent stroke.
“I am doing well,” Luján, 49, said in a video released Sunday. “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.”
He said that after he leaves the hospital in New Mexico where he is undergoing treatment, he will continue his recovery at an in-patient facility and “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.”
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, said he has been talking on the phone with Luján, who was “chipper” and “sounded like the same Ben Ray we have come to know and love.”
Luján has served in the Senate for one year.
“We’re rooting for him. We cannot wait to see him walk through the doors of this chamber once again to get back to work,” Schumer said.
In an evenly divided Senate, Democrats may need all 50 votes — with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tiebreaker — to confirm Biden’s pick to the Supreme Court. Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement in January.
Biden has yet to name his nominee, but said he plans to select a Black woman and will make an announcement by the end of the month. The president told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that he’s hoping for a 40-day confirmation timeline for his pick.
Luján is not a member of the Judiciary Committee, so his vote will not be needed there to advance the nomination.
Luján’s chief of staff, Carlos Sanchez, earlier said in a statement that on Jan. 27, the senator felt dizzy and fatigued, so he checked himself into Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe.
He was later taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, where he went into surgery to ease swelling in his brain, known as decompressive surgery.
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