Two House Democrats have called on Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to resign amid concerns about her health and ability to serve in Congress. Feinstein, 89, who was absent from the Senate for more than a month while recovering from shingles, plans to retire at the end of her sixth term in 2024.
That’s all we know.
Who called Feinstein to resign?
Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., was the first House Democrat to publicly call for Feinstein to step down.
“It’s time for @SenFeinstein to quit,” He tweeted on Wednesday. “We need to put the country before personal loyalty. While she has enjoyed public service throughout her life, it is clear that she can no longer perform her duties. Not speaking out undermines our credibility as the elected representatives of the people.”
Rep. Dean Phillips, Minnesota, echoed Khanna’s call.
“I agree with @RoKhanna,” Phillips wrote on Twitter. Senator Feinstein is a wonderful American whose contributions to our country are immeasurable. But I think it is now a dereliction of duty to remain in the Senate and a dereliction of duty for those who agree to remain silent.”
As a Yahoo News partner hill He noted that their calls came after Jon Lovett, co-founder of Crooked Media and former speechwriter for President Barack Obama, said Feinstein should step down, adding that More people should be asking her to quit. “
What was her response?
Feinstein released a statement Wednesday evening saying she intends to return to the Senate as soon as she is cleared to travel by her physicians.
“When I was first diagnosed with shingles, I expected to return by the end of my work period in March. Unfortunately, my return to Washington was delayed due to continuing complications related to my diagnosis.” I intend to return as soon as possible once my medical team has advised that it is safe for me to travel. . In the meantime, I will remain committed to the job and will continue to work from home in San Francisco.”
Feinstein, who sits on the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, was hospitalized after being diagnosed with herpes zoster in February.
Her absence stalled the committee’s efforts to confirm President Biden’s judicial nominees. according to Los Angeles TimesThe committee’s final vote on a nominee was on February 16.
In her statement, Feinstein said she had asked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to “allow another Democratic senator to serve temporarily” on the committee “until I can resume the work of my committee.”
What was Schumer’s response?
In a brief statement, Schumer’s office said it will seek approval of Feinstein’s request when the Senate meets next week.
“Ber Seinstein’s wishes, Majority Leader Schumer will ask the Senate next week to allow another Democratic senator to serve temporarily on the Judiciary Committee,” the statement read.
However, it is unclear if Schumer will receive the votes to grant Feinstein’s request. like Politico He noted that Democrats would need to pass a resolution in the Senate – and they would need Republican votes to pass it. (So far, no Republican has threatened to block the order, but that could change.)
Schumer’s Republican counterpart, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, was recovering after being hospitalized with a concussion after a fall on March 8.
He was released from the hospital a few days later and has been receiving inpatient care but has not yet returned to the Capitol.
What about Pelosi?
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the former House speaker and Feinstein’s fellow Democrat from California, wondered aloud if calls for the senator to step down were born out of sexism.
“It’s fun to me. I don’t know what political agendas at work are going after Sen. Feinstein like that. I’ve never seen them go after a sick man in the Senate like that,” Pelosi told reporters Wednesday.
Freshman Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pennsylvania, has also been out since February to receive treatment for clinical depression. He will return to Capitol Hill next week.
like Reuters Note that Feinstein was the first woman to serve as mayor of San Francisco and the first woman to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee; She is currently the longest serving member of the Senate.
Feinstein’s advanced age, health problems, and reported memory lapses led to speculation that she might decide to retire before the end of her term.
in 2022, The San Francisco Chronicle reported that colleagues worried she was unfit to serve, pointing to situations in which they had to reintroduce themselves to her several times during a policy discussion that lasted several hours.
Feinstein subsequently defended her job performance and said she had no plans to step down.
California Democrats Katie Porter, Barbara Lee and Adam Schiff have already announced their bids for Feinstein’s seat in the House.
Porter announced her condition before Feinstein announced her plans to retire. “California needs a warrior in Washington,” Porter said in a video announcing her candidacy. “It is time for new leadership in the United States Senate.”
It is expected to be the most expensive race in congressional history.
Khanna, who had been considering his own bid, announced last month that he would not run and endorsed Lee for the seat instead.