Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, returned to the Senate Wednesday in a confused state. She entered the Capitol on a wheelchair.
The 89 year old lawmaker had been absent from the Senate due to complications resulting from her diagnosis of shingles. The Huffington Post reported that Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer met Feinstein outside of the Senate chamber where she appeared to be confused and trembled.
According to the outlet, she asked “Where am I heading?” “I have something in my eyes.”
The outlet shared a video showing Feinstein being slowly guided into a wheel chair.
Schumer replied, “Hello Dianne.”
She replied, “Hello Chuck.”
Politico reported that in April, three people who knew Feinstein well or visited her said that her illness had taken a toll. According to Politico, two unnamed sources, who spoke with Feinstein, said that they were hopeful that she would be able to serve the remainder of her tenure, but did not appear confident she could do it from the Senate Chamber in Washington.
Democrats have insisted that Feinstein return to the Senate, despite her condition. Her vote is crucial for the approval of judicial nominees nominated by President Joe Biden. CNN reported that upon her return, Democrats in the Judiciary Committee had approved six Biden nominations. Three of them passed on a party line vote. Feinstein had been away from Washington, D.C. and the votes were put on hold.
CNN reports that the party-line nominees are Charnelle Bjelkengren for the U.S. District Court in Eastern District of Washington, S. Kato Crews, for Colorado’s U.S. District court, and Marian F. Gaston, for the U.S. District court in Southern District of California.
Feinstein said to a reporter that she felt “much better”, as she entered the building with Schumer, on Wednesday. According to Feinstein’s press release dated May 10, the senator still suffers from “vision and imbalance impairments” as a result of her illness. Her doctor has recommended that she maintain a “lighter schedule.”
“I am ready to resume my duties as a Senator in Washington. I have returned from San Francisco. “I’m grateful for your well wishes over the last couple of months, and for the excellent medical care I received in San Francisco,” Feinstein stated in a press release. The Senate is faced with many issues. But the most important one is that our government does not default on its financial commitments. I am also looking forward to returning to my work as a member of the Judiciary Committee, which considers the president’s nominees for judicial positions.
“Even after making significant progress, and returning to Washington to work again, I still experience some side effects of the shingles virus. My doctors have told me to take it easy when I return to the Senate. “I’m hoping that these issues will subside while I continue to heal,” the statement concluded.
HuffPost reported that Feinstein returned to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, but missed another vote early Wednesday. In February, a physician diagnosed her with shingles. Feinstein spent a brief period in hospital from February 6 until March 6. She missed several Senate votes as a result.
The senator has missed 91 votes on the floor during her absence. A minority of her party members have called for her resignation. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, a Democratic Rep. from New York, and Ro Khanna, a Democratic Rep. from California have both called on Feinstein to step down and let Democratic California Governor. Gavin Newsom will appoint a replacement.
Feinstein announced in February that she will retire at the conclusion of the 118th Congress. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter, both Democrats from California, have announced Senate bids in an attempt to replace Feinstein.