2 House Dems are calling on California Senator Feinstein to resign

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Two House Democrats have called on US Senator Dianne Feinstein to resign after her prolonged absence from Washington, saying she is no longer able to do her job properly.

Feinstein, who is the oldest member of Congress at 89, announced earlier last month that she was being treated for shingles. She has not returned to the Senate since then, complicating Democrat efforts to confirm President Joe Biden’s nominees for federal courts in a narrowly divided chamber.

“We must put the country before personal loyalty,” wrote Khanna, who has supported Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee’s Senate campaign. “Although she has been a lifelong public servant, it is evident that she is no longer able to fulfill her duties.”

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Feinstein, he wrote, “is a remarkable American whose contributions to our country are immeasurable. But I believe it is now a dereliction of duty to remain in the Senate and a dereliction of duty for those who agree to remain silent.”

Her office said in a statement Tuesday that she will continue to work from her home in San Francisco during her recovery. No date has been set for her return to the Senate.

Her office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday’s demands for his resignation.

The senator, who turns 90 in June, has faced questions about her cognitive health and memory in recent years, despite defending her effectiveness as a representative of a state home to nearly 40 million people.

If Feinstein decides to step down during her tenure, it would be up to Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom to fill the vacancy and possibly rearrange the hard-fought race. Newsom said in 2021 that if Feinstein stepped down, he would nominate a black woman for the seat.

Lee is black and becoming an incumbent could be a competitive advantage, but it’s unknown if Newsom would consider Lee given her candidacy. Porter and ship are white.

Newsom, through a spokesman, declined to comment on Khanna’s testimony.

“The governor is not asking you to resign,” spokesman Anthony York said in an email.

Prior to calls for her resignation, Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, admitted in a remark to CNN that Feinstein’s absence slowed her drive to confirm nominees on the tightly divided panel.

“Under these circumstances, I cannot consider candidates because a tie on the committee is a lost vote,” Durbin said.

Feinstein has had a groundbreaking political career, breaking down gender barriers from San Francisco City Hall to the corridors of Capitol Hill.

She was the first woman to serve as President of the Board of Directors of San Francisco in the 1970s and the first female mayor of San Francisco. She rose to the post after the November 1978 assassination of then-Mayor George Moscone and City Superintendent Harvey Milk by a former supervisor, Dan White. Feinstein found Milk’s body.

In the Senate, she was the first woman to head the Senate Intelligence Committee and the first woman to serve as chief Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. She earned a reputation as a pragmatic centrist who shaped political debates on issues ranging from reproductive rights to environmental protection.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed.

Brian Ashcraft

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