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Senator Dianne Feinstein (Photo: Feinstein.senate.gov)

Senator Feinstein Returns To Washington After Months Of Resignation Speculation

Feinstein returns after three months in California recovering from shingles

By Evan Symon, May 10, 2023 1:26 pm

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) returned to Washington D.C. Wednesday after a three month absence with the shingles, ending speculation that she may resign and upend both major upcoming Senate votes and the 2024 Senate election in California.

While Feinstein has been the subject of resignation speculation before, most notably in 2017 following the installation of a pacemaker and in 2020 after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg when many commentators noted many health similarities between the two, the most recent and most intense round of speculation began in February.

That month, shortly after announcing that she would not be running again for the Senate in 2024, Feinstein returned to California to recover from shingles. While she was expected back sometime in March, this did not happen. Her absence caused problems in the Senate Judiciary Committee where a logjam of federal judge nominees began to build as she was the deciding vote given the razor thin Democratic majority in the Senate.

Last month, with Serb. Feinstein’s recovery taking longer than expected, she temporarily left the Judiciary Committee, hoping to have an interim replacement cover for her. However, Republicans rejected the plan, forcing the Committee to only approve Judges whom members from both parties could agree on. With many potential judges held back, critical Senate votes coming up that were reliant on passage with a vote from Feinstein, and concerns growing about her health, Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) began to lead the charge to get her to resign. At it’s peak, dozens of Congressional members, Senators, and leftist/liberal groups pressured Feinstein to resign.

Complicating matters was the 2024 Senate race and Governor Gavin Newsom being responsible for picking a fill-in Senator if she resigned. As a temporary Senator could make a jump to the race as the incumbent and completely derail the current three-way race between Congressional members Adam Schiff, Katie Porter, and Barbara Lee (D-CA), a possible resignation held a lot of weight. This was broken down even further with Newsom having previously said he would choose a black female if Feinsteion’s Senate seat opened up, and Lee just so happening to be on his short-list of candidates. Many quickly charged that this would give her an unfair advantage.

During this time, Feinstein was also unsuccessful in convincing people that the Judicial approval process was continuing on without her, as only a few bipartisan supported jurists were approved during this time. In statements, she attempted to spin it in her favor.

“The Senate continues to swiftly confirm highly qualified individuals to the federal judiciary, including seven more judicial nominees who were confirmed this week,” said Feinstein in a statement last week. “There has been no slowdown. This includes the confirmation of Judge Wesley Hsu to the Central District of California. He will make an outstanding jurist and I’m proud to see him join the federal bench.

“While the Senate Judiciary Committee has advanced eight strong nominees during my absence, I’m disappointed that Republicans on the committee are blocking a few from moving forward. I’m confident that when I return to the Senate, we will be able to move the remaining qualified nominees out of committee quickly and to the Senate floor for a vote.”

Feinstein back in the District

However, the last several weeks of speculation were quickly ended on Wednesday with Feinstein’s return to Washington. While she did not give a statement on her return to the District, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) did, welcoming her back to the Senate on Wednesday.

“On a happy note, I join my fellow senators in welcoming back our dear friend and esteemed colleague, Dianne Feinstein,” Schumer said early Wednesday. “It’s so good to see her back here in the Senate, ready to get back to work. I’ve been in touch with Sen. Feinstein over the past few weeks, and I can report she’s exactly where she wants to be — ready to do the things she loves most, serving the people of California. So, Sen. Feinstein, we are so happy to see you. Welcome back!”

While Feinstein will still need to stay in healthy enough to continue her Senate duties until January 2025, most political experts noted that she will, barring another major health problem or death, likely fill out the rest of her term.

“She’s come back from health problems and calls from resignation several times before,” explained Bay Area pollster Evelyn Archer to the Globe on Wednesday. “This latest one was the most intense, with many colleagues actually not backing her, but she seems to have made it. Her tough and stubborn demeaner have won out in her favor before. I mean, let’s not forget, after [San Francisco Mayor George] Moscone and [Supervisor Harvey] Milk were killed in 1978, she was next in line for the job that they were just assassinated over and she took it. When she started declining in health around ten years ago, she kept up the same schedule. So it will take something big to get her out at this point.”

“But this time did show her that people were no longer hesitant, from either party, in showing her that they want her out if she can’t hack it anymore. So she is on thinner ice now.”

Feinstein is expected to make her first Senate votes since February on Wednesday.

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2 thoughts on “Senator Feinstein Returns To Washington After Months Of Resignation Speculation

  1. Oh good, another stupid incompetent libtard “returns” to the senate. How “lucky” we are! Didn’t even have the intelligence just to stay away another year which could have helped make things better accidentally. No! Can’t fix stupid!

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