Two House Democrats have publicly called for Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California to resign from office well over a year before her term is scheduled to end.
“It’s time for @SenFeinstein to resign. We need to put the country ahead of personal loyalty. While she has had a lifetime of public service, it is obvious she can no longer fulfill her duties. Not speaking out undermines our credibility as elected representatives of the people,” Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna of California tweeted on Wednesday.
Feinstein, who has been out of the Senate since contracting shingles earlier this year, sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee — her absence changes the Democrats’ 10-9 majority on the body to a 9-9 tie with Republicans.
“We have a crisis in the judiciary with extremist judges stripping away women’s rights. You can’t preach on television about the danger of these judges and then sit silently as Senator Feinstein misses vote after vote to confirm pro-choice judges,” Khanna declared in a message NBC News. “It’s time for California officials who care deeply about reproductive rights to call on her to step down at this moment in history.”
Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota publicly agreed with Khanna’s tweet.
“I agree with @RoKhanna. Senator Feinstein is a remarkable American whose contributions to our country are immeasurable. But I believe it’s now a dereliction of duty to remain in the Senate and a dereliction of duty for those who agree to remain quiet,” he wrote.
Feinstein noted in a statement in March that she had been diagnosed with shingles in February and was undergoing treatment. A bit later in March, she tweeted, “I want to thank everyone for the well wishes and the hospital staff for providing excellent care. I’m recovering at home now while I continue receiving treatment and look forward to returning to the Senate as soon as possible.”
In a statement on Wednesday, Feinstein said that she plans to return to Washington as soon as it is deemed safe for her to travel.
“When I was first diagnosed with shingles, I expected to return by the end of the March work period. Unfortunately, my return to Washington has been delayed due to continued complications related to my diagnosis,” Feinstein said the statement.
“I intend to return as soon as possible once my medical team advises that it’s safe for me to travel. In the meantime, I remain committed to the job and will continue to work from home in San Francisco,” she noted. “I understand that my absence could delay the important work of the Judiciary Committee, so I’ve asked Leader Schumer to ask the Senate to allow another Democratic senator to temporarily serve until I’m able to resume my committee work.”
Feinstein, who will turn 90 years old in June, announced in February that she will not seek re-election in 2024. “I am announcing today I will not run for reelection in 2024 but intend to accomplish as much for California as I can through the end of next year when my term ends,” she said in a statement at the time.
Democratic Reps. Katie Porter, Barbara Lee, and Adam Schiff of California have all announced bids for Feinstein’s Senate seat. Khanna has backed Lee for the slot.
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