Sen. Tim Johnson (D, S.D.) was upgraded from critical to fair condition at George Washington University HospitalÂ today after undergoing emergency surgery for a brain hemorrhage last month.
The senator’s spokeswoman, Julianne Fisher, says Johnson remains in intensive care.
“The senator continues to make progress,” Fisher said. “The next step would be rehabilitation and we hope that would happen within the week.”
Johnson was diagnosed with a condition called arteriovenous malformation, which involves tangled arteries in the brain.
Last week, Johnson was given the position as chairman ofÂ the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. Fisher says he loses none of his rights while he is in the hospital, and his office is open for business.
That said, Johnson’s staff is preparing for a long absence. Fisher says she doesn’t know when the senator will return to the Senate chambers. Doctors say his recovery, which includes physical therapy, is expected to take several months.
With the Democrats holding a narrow one-vote majority in the Senate, some feared Johnson’s illness would cause him to resign from office or possibly die, which would allow South Dakota Republican Governor Mike Rounds to appoint a replacement. A Republican successor would split the Senate 50-50 with Vice President Dick Cheney casting deciding votes and once again giving the Republicans the majority.