Sen. Dianne Feinstein has asked for another Democrat to be temporarily appointed to her seat on the judiciary committee, as her recovery from shingles has taken longer than expected and members of her own party have asked for her to resign.
Feinstein, who at 89 years of age is the oldest lawmaker in the Senate, has been absent from the Capitol since the February recess when she was diagnosed with shingles.
At the time, The California senator voiced hope that she’d be able to return in March, but her lengthening absence has held up the Senate judiciary committee where Democrats hold a one-vote majority when she is present.
On Wednesday, Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., called on Feinstein to resign, stating “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,” Khanna tweeted. “Not speaking out undermines our credibility as elected representatives of the people.”
Rep. Dean Phillips, a fellow Democrat from Minnesota, said he agreed with Khanna that it was time for her to go.
“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 said.
Feinstein did not address the calls for her resignation in her statement Wednesday night, but reiterated her commitment to her job while stating that she will continue to work from her San Francisco home.
In acknowledging that her absence “could delay the important work of the judiciary committee,” Feinstein said that she has asked Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to ask the Senate about allowing another Democratic senator to serve in her place until she can return.
“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,” she said.
“I intend to return as soon as possible once my medical team advises that it’s safe for me to travel.”
Feinstein was diagnosed with shingles a few short weeks after she announced that she will not run for re-election next year.
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