After a months-long absence due to shingles, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is returning to Washington, D.C., reestablishing the Democrats’ 51-49 majority in the Senate. Feinstein’s return has been confirmed by her spokesperson Adam Russell and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who expressed his happiness that his “friend Dianne is back in the Senate and ready to roll up her sleeves and get to work.”
Feinstein’s absence had prompted calls for her resignation from Democrats and Republicans, citing concerns over her ability to fulfill her duties in the Senate. Democratic colleagues like Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) expressed their concerns, with Ocasio-Cortez noting that Feinstein’s absence was “causing great harm to the judiciary.”
Interesting that Manchin waited until Feinstein returned to get tough on EPA noms. Allows him to vote with Rs but the noms will likely still be confirmed. https://t.co/dyjm8fC5vA
— Doug Andres (@DougAndres) May 10, 2023
However, Feinstein’s return is a statement of defiance against those urging her to step down. Just before her return, her office released a fact-check countering claims that her absence was holding up the confirmation of judicial nominees. Feinstein stated, “There has been no slowdown.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) also commented on the matter, suggesting that only the most liberal and radical nominees had trouble being confirmed.
Feinstein’s absence had made some of her colleagues anxious about the consequences of her not returning soon. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) expressed his hope that she would return during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Feinstein’s office announced in February that she would not seek re-election in 2024. Still, she stated in December that she intended to complete her term. Feinstein’s return to the Senate not only strengthens the Democratic majority but also demonstrates her determination to carry out her responsibilities until the end of her term.
While critics argue that her absence has impeded the progress of the Senate, Feinstein’s return indicates that she intends to see her term through. With the Democrats’ majority now restored, it remains to be seen how Feinstein’s presence will impact the political landscape in the Senate and whether she has the health and vigor to continue in the upper chamber for the next two years.