Several Democratic senators were put to the test Sunday over whether Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., should resign from the Senate amid her ongoing health concerns, with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., saying time is running out The 89- year old returns.
Klobuchar said on ABC’s This Week that Feinstein, who has not voted since Feb. 16, would “surely better” return to the Senate in time for this summer’s vote on raising the debt ceiling.
“In that case, we’re going to need their vote in the Senate at some point,” she said. “We have things like the debt ceiling ahead of us. But I think what we need to do is take her word for it, she’s recovering from shingles, and make sure she comes back. If this goes on month after month, she will have to make a decision with her family and friends about what her future holds.”
“Because this isn’t just about California. It’s also about the nation,” she continued. “And we just can’t, with that one vote lead, expect every other person to be there every time. It’s going to become an issue over the months, but I’ll take her word for it that she’ll be back.”
FELLOW DEMOCRATS TALK TO DIANNE FEINSTEIN, DEMANDING HER RESIGNATION FROM THE SENATE: ‘BREACH OF DUTY’
Feinstein, who has served in the Senate for over 30 years, was hospitalized last month for shingles and had other health issues, including reports of her mental fitness. She had previously faced calls for resignation before announcing her intention not to run for re-election earlier this year.
Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., and Dean Phillips, D-Minn., have led the call for Feinstein’s resignation.
“Although she has been a lifelong public servant, it is evident that she is no longer able to carry out her duties. Not speaking out undermines our credibility as the people’s elected representatives,” Khanna said last week.
“Sen. Feinstein is a remarkable American whose contributions to our country are immeasurable,” said Phillips. “But I believe it is now a dereliction of duty to remain in the Senate and a dereliction of duty for those who agree to remain silent,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY., struck a similar tone as former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
“Their legacy and wealth of experience are valuable. And we’ve had so many senators who have been sick, be it [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell’s illnesses or senators who suffered a stroke. These are issues that — we are human,” Gillibrand said on CNN’s State of the Union.
“And we believe that a senator should be able to make their own judgment about when to retire and when not to, and they all deserve a chance to get better and get back to work,” she said. “She’s a team player and she’s an exceptional member of the Senate. It is your right. She was elected senator by her state for six years, I think she has the right to decide when to step down.”
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that “it’s up to Dianne Feinstein and her family to decide if she wants to continue serving.”
“I certainly wish Senator Feinstein the best and am pleased that she has made the decision to represent her seat on the Judiciary Committee,” Baldwin said. “I think that’s really an important and responsible thing to do in her absence because we have President Biden’s nominees awaiting hearings and a vote and we want to keep that moving. But I wish her well and hope she returns to the Senate very soon.”
Feinstein said in a statement Wednesday that she intends to temporarily step down from the Judiciary Committee.
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“When I was first diagnosed with shingles, I expected to return by the end of the term in March,” Feinstein said. “Unfortunately, my return to Washington has been delayed due to ongoing complications related to my diagnosis.
“I intend to return as soon as possible once my medical team says I can travel safely. In the meantime, I remain committed to my job and will continue to work from home in San Francisco.”
Fox News’ Brandon Gillespie contributed to this report.
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