After three decades, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has decided not to run for re-election next year.
Feinstein plans to let her term expire in January 2025… but she’s facing calls to resign early amid newly urgent questions about her health.
And it’s not just Republicans hoping she quits. Democratic Party insiders are urging her to step aside… and quickly.
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The California stalwart was hospitalized for shingles sometime before March 3. “I hope to return to the Senate later this month,” she said in a statement on March 2.
Feinstein, 89, is no longer hospitalized but has yet to rejoin the Senate as of Tuesday, more than a month after her initial hospitalization. The senator “continues to work from home in San Francisco as she recuperates,” a spokesperson reportedly told the press.
He lengthy absence is stalling President Joe Biden’s agenda.
The Senate is set to reconvene on April 17, after starting a recess last month. With that deadline looming, Even the other Senate Democrats are urging Feinstein to step up. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin, D-Ill., faulted Feinstein for keeping the Senate from confirming more judges.
“I can’t consider nominees in these circumstances, because a tie vote is a losing vote in committee,” Durbin told CNN Monday, following two districts’ conflicting rulings on abortion.
The San Francisco Chronicle — which may as well be renamed The Feinstein Report at this point — noted that the senator has missed 60 of the 82 votes held in the Senate this year.
More to the point, some Democrats want Feinstein never to come back to the Senate at all. They’re not calling on her to step up. They’re calling on her to step aside.
“Feinstein represents 40 million Americans and serves on four Senate committees,” one columnist wrote in the left-wing, feminist outlet Jezebel.
“It seems we can both thank her for her service and decades of blazing a path for women in politics and recognize that her remaining in the Senate past her ability to do her job isn’t exactly a feminist victory—not when women and pregnant people stand to be harmed the most by the stalled confirmation of liberal judges.”
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Jon Lovett, once an Obama staffer, put it even more bluntly.
“Dianne Feinstein should no longer be in the Senate. She should resign, and more people should be calling on her to resign,” Obama’s ex-staffer said on a podcast Tuesday.
“Because she is not in the Judiciary Committee, Durbin has said that it has made it basically impossible to move a lot of these lower court nominees to the Senate for a vote… And as sad as it is to sort of see someone who’s had an incredibly storied and long career and has done a lot of good for this state, I think what the people around Dianne Feinstein are doing, being part of this farce of having a lack of a senator at such an important job is really wrong.”
Take a look —
.@jonlovett on Dianne Feinstein:
She is now preventing us from being able to confirm judges… As sad as it is to see someone who has had an incredibly storied and important career… Dianne Feinstein should no longer be in the Senate. She should resign. pic.twitter.com/aPPMVUJuq2
— Pod Save America (@PodSaveAmerica) April 11, 2023
Pennsylvania Democrat John Fetterman remains absent, too. In fact, he’s missed most of his Senate career. However, he’s set to return after the recess, and he’s hardly affecting the Senate’s ability to confirm new judges.
In the event of Feinstein’s resignation, California Gov. Gavin Newsom would appoint a replacement. Newsom, a Democrat, already appointed the state’s other senator, Democrat Alex Padilla, to fill the vacancy left by Kamala Harris’ ascent from Congress to the vice presidency.
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California, a heavily Democratic state, is already seeing a messy race to succeed Feinstein.
Three top House Democrats — Adam Schiff, Barbara Lee, and Katie Porter — are already running to represent the state’s 40 million residents. Two of them announced their campaigns before Feinstein’s announcement about retirement.
Attorney Eric Early, a Republican, also announced a campaign Tuesday.
The Horn editorial team