(PatriotWise.com) — Dianne Feinstein, the oldest sitting Member of Congress, has returned to Washington after a three-month absence. The veteran senator returns amid calls for her resignation from fellow Democrats. Feinstein has been absent due to illness. She was hospitalized with shingles in March and has since been recovering at home.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer welcomed the news and said Sen. Feinstein was back where she belongs and ready to roll up her sleeves and work for California.
Calls for the Senator to resign caused some awkwardness among Democrats and exposed some divisions. One Democrat who said Feinstein should step aside was the New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She said the Senator’s absence was “causing great harm to the judiciary.” She added that this harm is compounded as conservative judges threaten reproductive rights.
Democrats lost their slim majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee during Feinstein’s absence and could not move ahead with judicial appointments. Republicans rejected a proposal to allow a stand-in to replace the Senator.
Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib supported Ocasio-Cortez in her calls for the Senator’s resignation and said she should “step down gracefully.” Californian Rep. Ro Khanna said Feinstein could no longer fulfill her duties and asked her to “do the dignified thing.”
However, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed Feinstein’s critics as “sexist.” Pelosi said there is clearly a political motivation and that she does not recall an instance when a sick male Senator faced the same resignation demands.
Feinstein previously announced that she will not stand for re-election in 2024. The race to succeed her in the Golden State is already well underway. Rep. Katie Porter, Rep. Adam Schiff, and Rep. Barbara Lee are frontrunners.
Pundits consider Schiff the current favorite, partly because he has millions of campaign dollars in the bank. The three candidates appeared together for the first time at a union meeting in Oakland on May 7th. All three laid out their green credentials, but Barbara Lee had the edge regarding union endorsements and picket line attendance throughout her long career.
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