California Rep. Ro Khanna Calls on Sen. Dianne Feinstein to Step Down Amid Health Concerns
California Rep. Ro Khanna made headlines on Wednesday when he became the first Democrat lawmaker to publicly call for Sen. Dianne Feinstein to step down from her position amid concerns about her health. Rep. Dean Phillips later seconded Khanna’s statement, and Feinstein responded by requesting that another Democrat temporarily take her place on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The Concerns Surrounding Sen. Feinstein’s Health
Sen. Feinstein has been absent from her duties for nearly two months due to her contracting of shingles. This has resulted in a number of delays in regards to President Joe Biden’s judicial nominations. The current chair of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Dick Durbin, has stated that he cannot consider nominees in her absence because a tie vote is a losing vote in the committee.
Khanna took to Twitter on Wednesday to speak out against Sen. Feinstein’s continued absence, specifically mentioning the crisis of reproductive rights in America and the need for senators to confirm judges. Phillips later added to Khanna’s statement, calling it a “dereliction of duty” for Sen. Feinstein to remain in the Senate.
Sen. Feinstein’s Response
In response to the growing concerns about her health and ability to fulfill her duties, Sen. Feinstein issued a statement on Wednesday saying that her return to Washington has been delayed by health complications. She has, however, reiterated her commitment to her job and requested that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer temporarily allow another Democratic senator to take her place on the committee until she is able to resume her duties.
Unfortunately, it would require a resolution with at least 60 votes in the Senate to replace her on the committee, and it is uncertain whether Republicans would be willing to cooperate with such a request.
Concerns about Sen. Feinstein’s Absence from Senate Votes
Sen. Feinstein has missed 59 out of 77 Senate votes taken in 2023, which accounts for 77% of Senate votes so far this year.
What This Means for the Future
Sen. Feinstein has stated that she will not run for re-election, but she still has two years left in her current term. Her continued absence could have significant repercussions for the Democratic party as they try to maintain their narrow majority in the Senate. A number of politicians and activists, including former Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett, have called for Sen. Feinstein to step down, citing the need to preserve the Democratic party’s Senate majority.
As of now, there is no clear indication of how this situation will play out. It remains to be seen whether or not Sen. Feinstein will ultimately resign, or whether another Democrat will step in to temporarily take her place on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The public statements made by Reps. Khanna and Phillips, as well as the concerns over Sen. Feinstein’s health and absence from Senate votes, have raised serious questions about the future of the Democratic party in the Senate. As the party tries to navigate a narrow majority and push through significant legislation, the absence of a key member like Sen. Feinstein could have significant consequences. It remains to be seen whether or not the party will be able to come together to address these concerns and ensure that their goals can be achieved.