WASHINGTON — California Sen. Dianne Feinstein returned to the Senate on Wednesday after a two-and-a-half-month absence due to illness, giving majority Democrats a much-needed final vote as they seek to confirm President Joe Biden’s nominees and raise the nation’s debt ceiling in the coming weeks.
Looking noticeably thinner and frail, Feinstein is using a wheelchair to get around the Capitol as she continues to recover from a case of shingles. She missed the Senate’s first votes on Wednesday morning but arrived outside the Senate in a car for an afternoon vote, helped into the wheelchair by aides and greeted by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer with a handshake and affectionate pat on the back.
In a statement, Feinstein, 89, said she was continuing to recover from side effects of the shingles virus and would work a reduced schedule. While she had returned to Washington on Tuesday, she missed a vote on Tuesday evening and two votes on Wednesday morning before returning for the afternoon vote to confirm a Department of Education nominee.
“My doctors have advised me to work a lighter schedule as I return to the Senate,” Feinstein said in the statement. “I’m hopeful those issues will subside as I continue to recover.”
Feinstein’s return after 10 weeks away from the Senate gives Democrats a better cushion as they navigate their narrow 51-49 majority. She had asked Schumer to temporarily replace her on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where some of Biden’s judicial nominations have stalled without her tie-breaking vote. But Republicans blocked that request last month, giving Democrats few options to move those nominees — and important bills, like a potential debt package — unless she returned or resigned.
Still, it is unclear if Feinstein will be able to be present for every crucial vote. Her office said that while she was initially diagnosed with shingles on Feb. 26 and briefly hospitalized, she is still experiencing side effects like vision and balance impairments.
Feinstein looks Hideous....did she Die, and Crawl back out of the Grave..? I would be embarrassed...unless I was Federman (IMHO).
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