In the wake of her absence in recent months, fellow Democrats have called for California Senator Dianne Feinstein to resign from her office instead of finishing out her last term.
Instead, Feinstein rejected those demands and opted to take a step back from her position on the Judiciary Committee.
The backstory: Feinstein, 89, has been away from the Senate since February receiving treatment for shingles, missing dozens of votes through her absence.
- Her absence from the Judiciary Committee has held up judicial nominees from being approved, leading Democrats to call for her resignation.
- Feinstein announced earlier this year that she will retire after her term ends in January 2025. She has served in the Senate since 1992.
The big picture: Feinstein released a statement Wednesday saying she had planned to return to the Senate in March but was delayed due to medical complications from her shingles contraction.
- With the timetable for her return up in the air, Feinstein asked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–NY) to temporarily replace her on the Judiciary Committee.
State of play: Schumer’s office said he will make the request from the Senate next week to allow another Democratic senator to temporarily replace Feinstein.
- Republicans could make Schumer’s life difficult by voting to block Feinstein’s temporary replacement, giving Democrats more concern that she should step away completely.
What they’re saying: “I intend to return as soon as possible once my medical team advises that it’s safe for me to travel,” Feinstein said in a statement. “In the meantime, I remain committed to the job and will continue to work from home in San Francisco.”
- Rep. Ro Khanna (D–Fremont), who has endorsed Rep. Barbara Lee (D–Oakland) in the race to replace Feinstein, was the first Democrat to call for her immediate resignation.
“It’s time for [Feinstein] to resign,” Khanna said on Twitter. We need to put the country ahead of personal loyalty. While she has had a lifetime of public service, it is obvious she can no longer fulfill her duties. Not speaking out undermines our credibility as elected representatives of the people.”