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Republicans Prevent Democrats from Replacing Senator Dianne Feinstein on Judiciary Committee

Feinstein has been away from the Senate since February, preventing the Committee from confirming President Biden's judicial nominations

Senate Democrats were unable to temporarily replace California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who is recovering from a case of shingles at her home.

Republicans voiced their opposition to replacing the 89-year-old on the Judiciary Committee on April 17. Her absence prevents the committee from moving forward with the approval process for President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees. The Judicial Committee is comprised of 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans. 

Feinstein’s absence has prompted one member of the House of Representatives to openly call for her resignation.

Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, John Kennedy of Louisiana and John Cornyn of Texas all said they either will not vote to replace Feinstein or do not see a reason to remove her from the committee.

“I, for one, am not going to help President Biden’s most unqualified nominees to get confirmed. I don’t think you’ll see us help in that effort,” said Cornyn, a member of the Judiciary Committee, per The Hill.

Two other Republicans, Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, have told reporters they believe Democrats are unfairly pressuring Feinstein, reports ABC News.

Feinstein asked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York to permit a temporary replacement to take over her position while she recuperates. Feinstein has been absent from the Senate since February.

“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,” the senator said in a statement

I intend to return as soon as possible once my medical team advises that it’s safe for me to travel,” Feinstein continued. “In the meantime, I remain committed to the job and will continue to work from home in San Francisco.”

“I understand that my absence could delay the important work of the Judiciary Committee, so I’ve asked Leader Schumer to ask the Senate to allow another Democratic senator to temporarily serve until I’m able to resume my committee work,” she added.

A replacement for Feinstein has to receive at least 60 votes to be approved. Republicans currently control 49 seats. Democrats need at least 10 to vote in favor of replacing Feinstein.

Feinstein announced in February that she will retire in 2025 at the end of her current term after 30 years. Democrat voters have already called for her resignation, claiming Feinstein’s cognitive health has substantially declined. One report claimed an anonymous staffer for the senator said her memory is “rapidly deteriorating.”

California Congressman Ro Khanna called on Feinstein to resign. 

It’s time for @SenFeinstein to resign. We need to put the country ahead of personal loyalty,” Khannah tweeted on April 12. “While she has had a lifetime of public service, it is obvious she can no longer fulfill her duties. Not speaking out undermines our credibility as elected representatives of the people.

“I have a lot of respect for Senator Feinstein’s public service but we just heard from the CEO of Planned Parenthood – we’re in a crisis in this country. A crisis of an assault on voting rights and women’s rights. We have a rouge judge – a single judge – who is taking away the abortion pill from women,” Khanna told MCNBC’s Jonathan Carpenter on April 15. “The single biggest thing this president can do with a Republican House is confirm judges.”

He reiterated his position during an appearance on Fox News on April 16

“She hasn’t been showing up, and she has no intention. We don’t know if she is even gonna show up. She has no return date,” said Khanna. “It’s one thing to take medical leave and come back. It’s another thing when you’re just not doing the job.”

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