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Key Democratic senator Lujan votes at hearing after absence – Metro US

Key Democratic senator Lujan votes at hearing after absence

FILE PHOTO: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing
FILE PHOTO: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on federal government coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic U.S. Senator Ben Ray Lujan, who was hospitalized after suffering a stroke, appeared at a U.S. Senate hearing Thursday after an absence of about a month.

Lujan’s vote may be critical to confirming President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson. The Senate is evenly divided 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans.

Lujan of New Mexico provided the key vote Thursday to advance nominees for both the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission, which both got 14-14 votes. Lujan got a standing ovation and hugs and handshakes from his Republican and Democratic colleagues as he entered the Senate Commerce Committee room.

“It’s an absolute honor to be back and it’s got me a little teary-eyed today,” Lujan said. “But to every one of you that sent me notes, sent videos, and all the prayers have worked and it’s good to be back. I’ll tell you I missed you all. So I look forward to getting back to work.”

(Reporting by David Shepardson and Diane Bartz; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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