Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), after a prolonged absence of more than two months due to shingles, is expected to return to the Senate this week, according to her spokesperson Adam Russell.
Her comeback, which is scheduled for either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on her flight to Washington, D.C., is timely as the Senate is set to vote at 5:30 pm on Tuesday as reported by Axios.
Feinstein’s prolonged stay in California sparked discussions in Congress about the ability of elderly lawmakers to serve and the treatment of older female members.
NEW: Sen. Dianne Feinstein is en route back to D.C., her office confirms. @sfchronicle had it first
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) May 9, 2023
During her absence, Feinstein missed almost 100 floor votes, and Democrats were unable to conduct important Judiciary Committee proceedings due to her absence. Senate Republicans rejected the Democrats’ proposal to temporarily replace her with Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.). Some younger and progressive House Democrats called for her resignation instead of completing her term.
In April, several prominent Republicans expressed their concerns to POLITICO about preventing Joe Biden from filling the courts with his nominees, even if that meant disregarding tradition to respect a colleague’s declining health.
Senator Feinstein attempted to avoid calls for her resignation by seating a temporary replacement, but Senate Republicans, including Senator Tom Cotton, were against helping President Biden’s judicial nominees get confirmed. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was silent on the matter as he recovered from a health scare.
Some Democrats were split between giving Senator Feinstein time to recover and calling for her ouster, with California Congressman Ro Khanna publicly advocating for her retirement while former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi believed that Feinstein should be given the time she needs to recover and return to work.