Sen. Johnson Co-Sponsors Legislation While in Recovery

Sen. Tim Johnson on Thursday signed on to his first piece of legislation — almost two months after undergoing emergency surgery for a brain hemorrhage.

Johnson, D-S.D., has been recuperating through physical, occupational and speech therapy since he suddenly fell in December. He is residing at George Washington University Hospital's rehabilitation unit where he is in therapy six days a week, said spokeswoman Julianne Fisher.

"He's still in speech therapy and has weakness on his right side," said Fisher, who said it will be several more months before he fully recovers and staff is bringing the work to him.

But, she added, Johnson "is mentally capable of doing this" and even approved the press release announcing his first legislative effort this Congress.

Johnson is co-sponsoring the Emergency Farm Relief Act of 2007 to provide crop disaster and livestock assistance to farms hit by blizzards, droughts and other damage. Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., is the other sponsor. A similar bill was not supported by the White House last year and was pulled, Fisher said. Johnson was made aware of the changes, Fisher said.

Johnson was admitted to GW Hospital on Dec. 13 after becoming disoriented during a phone call with reporters. After several hours of emergency surgery, he was diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation, a congenital condition that causes arteries and veins to grow abnormally large, become tangled and sometimes burst.

"True to form, Tim is a hard worker and is already requesting more from the staff. The process will be slow, but we are excited about crossing this hurdle," said Drey Samuelson, Johnson's chief of staff.