(USNewsMag.com) – After an absence due to health issues, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, 89, returned to Washington May 9.
Feinstein has been absent since mid-February when she was hospitalized with shingles. After being released from the hospital, Feinstein spent time recovering at home. She had originally planned to be back in Washington by the end of March, however, complications kept her away from Washington longer than anticipated.
The lengthy absence from the Senate has led to many Democrats calling for her to resign. Many stated that if she resigned now Gov. Gavin Newsom would be able to appoint someone to fill the spot immediately. They stated that her absence was stopping them from not only moving legislation but from confirming judicial nominees. With her out the Democrats majority in the Senate fell to 50-49.
In April, in an effort to move along the confirmation of judicial nominees, Feinstein had sent a request to Senate Majority Leader and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer asking to be replaced temporarily on the Senate Judiciary Committee. With Feinstein out, the Democrats 11-10 majority on the committee became a 10-10 tie. Republicans blocked the temporary replacement to the committee.
During the first week of May, Feinstein issued a statement which said that the ability to confirm qualified individuals was not hindered by her absence and stated that seven had been confirmed in just that week.
On May 10, Feinstein cast her first recorded vote since Feb. 16. She missed 91 floor votes during her three-month absence.
Before she was elected to the Senate, Feinstein was the first female mayor of San Francisco. First elected to the Senate in 1992, she is California’s longest-serving senator.
In February, she announced that she would not seek re-election in 2024, with the race expected to be one of the most watched in the election cycle. Three Democrats, Rep. Katie Porter, Rep. Adam Schiff as well as Rep. Barbara Lee, and one Republican, Eric Early, have launched campaigns for the Senate seat.
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