House Dems Are Beginning to Call on Sen. Dianne Feinstein to Resign

  • Two Democratic members of Congress just called on Sen. Dianne Feinstein to retire.
  • Feinstein has been away from the Senate dealing with health issues after contracting shingles.
  • Democrats have been unable to confirm several federal judges in her absence.

Two Democratic members of Congress just called on longtime Sen. Dianne Feinstein to resign.

“It’s time for @SenFeinstein to resign,” Rep. Ro Khanna tweeted on Wednesday. “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.”

Shortly after Khanna’s tweet, Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota tweeted in support.

“I agree with @RoKhanna,” Phillips wrote, “Senator Feinstein is a remarkable American whose contributions to our country are immeasurable. But I believe it’s now a dereliction of duty to remain in the Senate and a dereliction of duty for those who agree to remain quiet.”

Feinstein, who’s 89 years old, hasn’t cast a vote since mid-February, around the time of her shingles diagnosis. After contracting the infection, she said in early March that she spent time in the hospital before being released.

Hours after her colleagues’ tweets calling for her resignation, Feinstein issued a statement asking Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to ask the Senate to allow another Democrat to step into her committee positions until she is able to resume her work.

Feinstein currently sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Democrats hold 11 votes to the Republican Party’s 10. In order to send judicial nominees to the Senate floor, the 21-person panel needs a majority of its members to be present to vote for the nominee. A tie vote for the nominee means they won’t see the floor. 

Without Feinstein present, committee chair Sen. Dick Durbin had asked to delay committee meetings on multiple occasions when Feinstein would be the pivotal 11th vote, according to NBC News.  

“When I was first diagnosed with shingles, I expected to return by the end of the March work period,” Feinstein wrote in the Wednesday email update. “Unfortunately, my return to Washington has been delayed due to continued complications related to my diagnosis.”

According to a Politico piece published Wednesday, two people in touch with Feinstein said they thought she could serve out the rest of her term but didn’t think she’d be able to return to Washington, DC.  

The Senate is currently on a two-week recess and is set to return on Monday. When asked about Feinstein’s timetable for return to office, her spokesperson told NBC News they “don’t have an update at this time.” 

“I intend to return as soon as possible once my medical team advises that it’s safe for me to travel. In the meantime, I remain committed to the job and will continue to work from home in San Francisco,” the lawmaker wrote. 

On February 14, 2023, Feinstein announced in a release that she was not running for another term in the Senate and that she’d work until her term ends. Prominent California Democrats Reps. Katie Porter, Barbara Lee, and Adam Schiff have each thrown their hats into the ring to replace Feinstein in 2024. Khanna was expected to run for Feinstein’s seat but has since endorsed Lee and is co-chairing her campaign.

If Feinstein steps down from her position before her term ends, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has the authority to appoint her successor to hold the position until the end of the term.

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