Following a prolonged absence from the chamber, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) has reportedly met with significant difficulty in her turn to the Senate. The senator has so far resisted calls to resign, even from within her own party.
The New York Times recently published an article about Feinstein’s latest tenure in the Senate. According to one source close to the senator, she was confused over why Vice President Kamala Harris was there to break a tie vote.
Persistent health issues have left the 89-year-old @SenFeinstein reportedly dependent on a growing cadre of staff and assistants to perform everyday aspects of her job. | @ariblaff https://t.co/kGLt6llVYI
— National Review (@NRO) May 29, 2023
Her reentry into the Senate came as she required the use of a wheelchair and looked visibly frail. She said upon her return that she was “still experiencing some side effects from the shingles virus.”
Feinstein said that her doctors advised her to work a “lighter schedule.”
She also mentioned a hope that the disease’s side effects would “subside.”
Earlier this month the California Democrat appeared not to remember that she had been absent from Congress.
When a reporter asked the senator about what she had been doing since leaving the chamber, Feinstein instead said that she was “here, voting.”
She said, “I haven’t been gone. You should … I haven’t been gone. I’ve been working.”
The controversy surrounding the longtime senator is also centered around her important role in the judicial appointment process. Feinstein was the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the contentious Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh in 2008.
Feinstein is the oldest member of the Senate and has served in the body since 1992. She will be turning 90 next month.
The concern over Feinstein’s health also comes more than a year after an article in the San Francisco Chronicle that outlined how those around the longtime senator felt that she was no longer fit to serve.
Feinstein received considerable pressure from her own party regarding her absence. Several Democratic members of Congress recommended that she resign.
These included several members within the left wing of the party. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) said last month that it was “unacceptable to have Senator Feinstein miss vote after vote to confirm judges who will uphold reproductive rights.”