From Laura Litvin’s article on Bloomberg:
Kennedy’s absence cuts the Democratic margin and sidelines one of the party’s best negotiators, said Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California.
“It’s a significant blow,” Pitney said. “It’s a problem for the Senate Democrats because their margin is so narrow. And Ted Kennedy counts a lot, not only because of his vote but because of his stature.”