Sen. Dianne Feinstein's absence from Washington is causing headaches for Democrats

 May 8, 2023

Eighty-nine-year-old California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein has been away from her seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee since coming down with shingles earlier this year.

That fact has made it more difficult for Democrats to confirm President Joe Biden's judicial nominees, and Feinstein's refusal to step down is creating chaos within her party. 

Feinstein denies that her absence is a problem

The Washington Examiner noted that Feinstein's office released a statement last Thursday downplaying any disruption caused by her absence.

"The Senate continues to swiftly confirm highly qualified individuals to the federal judiciary, including seven more judicial nominees who were confirmed this week. There has been no slowdown," it read.

However, the Examiner noted that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin feels differently about the matter, something he made clear during an appearance this weekend on CNN's "State of the Union."

Durbin described Feinstein as a friend and acknowledged that she has experienced "an awful lot" following the death of her husband last year.

Committee chairman says Feinstein is making it difficult "to do our business"

Nevertheless, he told host Jake Tapper that Feinstein being away from Capitol Hill for months at a time has made it "a challenge in the Senate Judiciary Committee to do our business."

"I want to treat Dianne Feinstein fairly. I want to be sensitive to her family situation and her personal situation," Durbin insisted.

"I don't want to say that she's going to be put under more pressure than others have been in the past. But the bottom line is the business of the committee and of the Senate is affected by her absence," he stressed.

Republicans refuse to participate in Feinstein's removal

Meanwhile, The Washington Times reported last month that Senate Republicans will not consent to replacing Feinstein with someone else.

"I am very capable of supporting Democratic nominees, but there are four or five that just are out of the mainstream, and they want to replace Dianne Feinstein’s seat for the judges," South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham was quoted as saying during his own "State of the Union."

Feinstein has faced growing calls from Democrats to step down in the wake of reports that she is suffering from serious cognitive decline.

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