“Unfortunately, my return to Washington has been delayed due to continued complications related to my diagnosis,” the senator said in a statement. “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.”
A spokesperson for Schumer said he would ask the chamber to do so next week. Democratic aides say the majority leader could make a unanimous consent request on the floor to allow for the temporary replacement.
“Per Sen. Feinstein’s wishes, Majority Leader Schumer will ask the Senate next week to allow another Democratic Senator to temporarily serve on the Judiciary Committee,” the spokesperson said.
Feinstein, 89, was hospitalized last month after she was diagnosed with shingles. She was released a week later, saying she expected to make a full recovery and return to the Senate “as soon as possible.”
But that hasn’t happened yet. Her absence has stalled the committee’s vote on President Joe Biden’s top nominees, and some Democrats have expressed concern that Feinstein may never return to the Capitol. She has already missed 60 votes this year, and her absence has been notable as Democrats hold a slim majority in the chamber.
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) called on the veteran lawmaker to resign on Wednesday, commending her “lifetime of public service” but adding that “it is obvious she can no longer fulfill her duties.” Feinstein said she will leave Congress at the end of her current term in 2024.
The senator said she still intends to return to Washington once her medical team clears her for travel.
“I remain committed to the job and will continue to work from home in San Francisco,” Feinstein added.