Feinstein Returns to Senate Amid Controversy and Missed Votes

After a nearly three-month absence, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is set to return to the Senate this week. The senator’s spokesperson confirmed her return to TPM following her recovery from shingles. Feinstein is expected to resume voting as early as Wednesday, marking her first recorded vote since February 16th.

During her absence, Feinstein, a member of the Judiciary Committee, missed numerous Senate votes, including key votes on President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees. Her prolonged absence has prompted calls for her resignation from some House Democrats.

Feinstein, 89, has already faced questions about her cognitive health and has announced that she will not seek re-election in 2024. As calls for her resignation grew louder, she attempted to temporarily step aside from her committee seat and allow another Democratic senator to take her place. However, Republicans blocked this move in April, signaling their unwillingness to help Democrats confirm more of Biden’s judicial nominees.

Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-IL) recently commented on Feinstein’s absence, urging her to return to Capitol Hill quickly. Durbin emphasized that her absence affects both the committee and the Senate’s business.

Some Democrats have speculated that if Feinstein were to resign, Senate Republicans might refuse to fill the vacancy on the Judiciary Committee. Although Senate Republicans have suggested this is unlikely, the possibility circulated throughout the Senate last month.

Upon the announcement of Feinstein’s return, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) released a statement, saying, “I’m glad that my friend Dianne is back in the Senate and ready to roll up her sleeves and get to work.” Schumer noted that he had spoken with Feinstein multiple times over the past few weeks and that she was eager to return and deliver for California.

As Feinstein makes her way back to the Senate, readers of The Young Turks (TYT) will be keeping a close eye on the impact of her return on both the Judiciary Committee and the broader political landscape.