Here are five key areas where Franken’s vote could have decisive impact:
1. Health Care
This was always going to be a heavy lift for the Obama Administration, and an extra vote in the Senate could mean the difference for passage. Franken supports an individual mandate and has said he’d like to see all children under the age of 18 covered by a single payer system — though he hasn’t weighed in on a public plan to compete with the private plans in each state, perhaps the most contentious issue in the negotiations right now. Nevertheless, it’s clear from his campaign statements that Franken will be a reliable Democratic vote on health-care reform. “There’s no question that a health-care bill with a public-option component might end up being one of the razor-thin votes of the year, where Franken’s vote could make a difference,” says Larry J. Sabato, a political science professor at the University of Virginia.