Sen. Dianne Feinstein, 90, hospitalizes after falling at home; scans clear
Oldest member of Congress, Dianne Feinstein, briefly hospitalized after a fall at home; concerns about her health resurface.
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the oldest member of Congress at 90 years old, recently fell in her home and was briefly hospitalized as a precaution. Concerns about her health and ability to fulfill her senatorial duties have been growing. However, all of her scans came back clear, and she returned home the same day. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer confirmed that he spoke with Feinstein and that she suffered no injuries and is now doing well. This hospital visit follows Feinstein's absence from work earlier this year due to the shingles virus and its side effects. Since her return, she has been seen using a wheelchair and has exhibited signs of confusion and disorientation.
Feinstein has defended her ability to continue her job, although her office stated that she still experiences vision and balance impairments from the shingles virus. She announced earlier this year that she will not seek reelection in 2024, sparking a competitive race among Democrats to replace her. Some progressive House Democrats called for her resignation during her hospitalization, claiming that her absence hindered the confirmation of President Joe Biden's judicial nominees. However, prominent Democrats, including Biden and Schumer, publicly supported her.
Feinstein's retirement plans have led to a Democratic contest to replace her, with U.S. Representatives Barbara Lee, Katie Porter, and Adam Schiff emerging as frontrunners. If Feinstein resigns before the 2024 election, Governor Gavin Newsom would appoint her replacement, potentially altering the dynamics of the race. Newsom previously stated that he would nominate a Black woman for the position if Feinstein were to step aside. Barbara Lee, who is Black, could have an advantage as the incumbent, but it remains uncertain if Newsom would consider her since she is already running for the seat. Katie Porter and Adam Schiff are both white.
Feinstein has had a remarkable political career, breaking gender barriers as she ascended from San Francisco's City Hall to leadership positions in the U.S. Senate. She has played pivotal roles in battles over reproductive rights and environmental protection, earning a reputation as a pragmatic centrist. However, in recent years, she has taken a step back from senior roles in the Capitol. She relinquished her position as the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee in 2020 following criticism from liberals regarding her handling of Justice Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation. Additionally, she declined to serve as the Senate president pro tempore earlier this year, despite being next in line for the position.
During her 10-week hospital stay, Feinstein requested to be replaced on the Senate Judiciary panel, but Republicans refused to allow a replacement. Concerns persist about her ability to be present for important votes. The Senate is expected to resume work in Washington in early September. For more information on U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, you can follow the AP's coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/dianne-feinstein.