Senator Dianne Feinstein responds after Democrats urge her to retire

Washington DC - Two House Democrats have called on 89-year-old Senator Dianne Feinstein to resign amid her long absence from Washington.

California Representative Ro Khanna (r.) on Wednesday became the first Democrat in Congress to call for Senator Dianne Feinstein's resignation.
California Representative Ro Khanna (r.) on Wednesday became the first Democrat in Congress to call for Senator Dianne Feinstein's resignation.  © Collage: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades / POOL / AFP & CHIP SOMODEVILLA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

"It’s time for @SenFeinstein to resign. We need to put the country ahead of personal loyalty. 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," California Representative Ro Khanna tweeted on Wednesday.

Minnesota Representative Dean Phillips chimed in to support the call for Feinstein's resignation: "I agree with @RoKhanna. Senator Feinstein is a remarkable American whose contributions to our country are immeasurable. But I believe it’s now a dereliction of duty to remain in the Senate and a dereliction of duty for those who agree to remain quiet."

With that, Khanna and Phillips have become the first two Democrats in Congress to make official statements in support of Feinstein's resignation.

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In office since 1992, Feinstein has been missing from the Senate chamber since March when she was hospitalized for shingles.

During her prolonged absence, she has missed at least 60 Senate votes.

Feinstein refuses to retire

Dianne Feinstein, who has been a member of the Senate since 1992, has already said she does not plan to run for reelection in 2024.
Dianne Feinstein, who has been a member of the Senate since 1992, has already said she does not plan to run for reelection in 2024.  © Chip Somodevilla / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

In response to the calls for her resignation, Feinstein issued a defiant statement.

"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 oldest member of the Senate said in a statement, according to The Hill.

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

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The former San Francisco mayor did ask Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to find a temporary replacement for her on the Judiciary Committee, where her absence has stalled the confirmations of several Biden judicial nominees.

"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 said.

Feinstein has already indicated she does not plan to run for reelection in 2024. California Representatives Katie Porter, Adam Schiff, and Barbara Lee are among those lining up to try to take her place.

Cover photo: Collage: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades / POOL / AFP & CHIP SOMODEVILLA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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