After months away while recovering from shingles, last Wednesday California Senator Dianne Feinstein returned to the Senate, CBS News reported.
The 89-year-old Democrat, who was escorted into the Capitol in a wheelchair, told reporters that she felt “much better.” She briefly appeared on the Senate floor where she cast her first vote since February 16.
In a written statement, the longest-serving senator said while she has made “significant progress” in her recovery, she continues to experience “some side effects” from her bout with shingles.
Feinstein was hospitalized with shingles in early March. After her release from a San Francisco hospital, she was sent home to recover while undergoing treatment. Last month, Feinstein notified Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that she was extending her leave of absence from the Senate and asked that a temporary replacement be chosen to take her place on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
However, when Republicans blocked the move to temporarily replace Feinstein, Congressional Democrats began to call for her resignation, citing her extended absence along with her advanced age and cognitive problems as reasons for the California senator to gracefully exit now rather than simply retire in January 2025.
There have been multiple reports in recent years about her colleagues’ concerns about the 89-year-old Feinstein’s mental confusion.
In an excerpt from the new book “The Big Break: The Gamblers, Party Animals, and True Believers Trying to Win in Washington While America Loses Its Mind,” published in Politico, Washington Post reporter Ben Terris includes an anecdote about highlighting one example of Feinstein’s confusion after the 2021 Senate run-off election in Georgia.
According to Terris, Senator Feinstein inadvertently congratulated South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott for his victory in the run-off election in Georgia assuming that Scott was Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock.
Feinstein’s prolonged absence left the Democrats with an even slimmer 50-49 majority and tied up some of President Biden’s judicial nominees in the Judiciary Committee.