Democrats Press Feinstein Resignation, GOP Calls for Patience

( – Senator Dianne Feinstein remains at the center of a debate among the nation’s highest-level lawmakers. At the age of 89, Feinstein is currently the oldest member of Congress. She has been suffering from a case of shingles and continued complications, prompting her doctors to discourage her from returning to work. Unable to return to the Senate since February, she has also not been able to fulfill her duties on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which assembles to discuss judicial nominees to the nation’s federal courts. Her absence there has slowed the Biden Administration’s push to confirm nominees, and some Democrats are becoming impatient.

Democratic House Representatives Ro Khanna (California) and Dean Phillips (Minnesota) called for Senator Feinstein to resign so that the business of government can proceed. Their request prompted Feinstein to ask for a temporary replacement for her seat on the Judiciary Committee. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he would call for a vote on Feinstein’s request, but GOP leaders are not likely to side with Democrats on rushing to confirm liberal nominees to the courts. All the while, the pressure on Feinstein to resign mounts, even though she has already announced that she will not run for reelection in 2024.

Democrats want to push the issue forward because their governmental agendas will lose steam without like-minded judicial nominees confirmed to courts around the nation. Republicans are in no rush to comply. It is an advantage to the GOP for the Democrats to have to wait for Feinstein to return. Without her vote, they will not have a majority, and their party goals are stalled. As well, Republican leaders understand that they could easily find themselves in the same situation as the Democrats. The average age for United States senators is 65 years. Illnesses and absences are bipartisan possibilities, and setting a precedent of patience as Feinstein recovers might produce the same courtesy if the tables are turned.

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