Franken Takes Seat in the Senate

Posted July 7, 2009 at 11:57am

Comedian-turned-politician Al Franken was officially sworn in to the Senate on Tuesday, filling the 100th seat in the chamber and joining the Democratic Conference as its 60th member.

Franken was installed as Minnesota’s junior Senator after an eight-month recount that finally ended last week when the Minnesota Supreme Court declared him the winner over former Sen. Norm Coleman (R) by 312 votes. Coleman conceded the race after the court’s decision.

Franken was escorted into the chamber by his home-state colleague Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) and former Minnesota Senator and Vice President Walter Mondale (D).

With Franken’s swearing-in, the Democratic caucus now has a filibuster-proof, 60-vote majority, which could help it move along an ambitious legislative agenda. That threshold has not been overlooked by Franken’s Democratic colleagues, who on Tuesday beamed as he received the oath of office from Vice President Joseph Biden.

A former “Saturday Night Live— star, comedic writer and producer, Franken joins the Senate as the chamber begins a hectic five-week stretch that will include health care and climate change legislation, a host of appropriations bills and consideration of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

After Franken took the oath and accepted hugs and well-wishes from his new colleagues, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that the Minnesotan will serve on the Aging, Indian Affairs, Judiciary, and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committees.