Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California made her return to the Senate on Wednesday, arriving at the Capitol in a wheelchair. The 89-year-old lawmaker had been absent from the Senate for more than two months due to complications arising from her shingles diagnosis.
As she entered the Senate chamber, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer warmly welcomed Feinstein, who exhibited visible trembling and signs of confusion, according to a report by the Huffington Post.
“Where am I going?” she asked, according to the report. “I’ve got something in my eye.”
Video shared by the outlet shows Feinstein slowly being guided into a wheelchair.
“Hi Dianne,” Schumer said.
“Hi Chuck,” she replied.
Dianne Feinstein, 89, returns to the Senate after being absent since February and recovering from shingles pic.twitter.com/FcMJr7ddni
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 10, 2023
According to a Politico report from April, three individuals who had either visited Feinstein or were familiar with her condition stated that her illness had significantly affected her. Two sources, who preferred to remain anonymous, claimed to have spoken with the senator and expressed hope that she would be able to fulfill the remainder of her term. However, they appeared uncertain about her ability to do so directly from the Senate chamber in Washington, as reported by the outlet.
Despite the senator's condition, Democrats have advocated for Feinstein's return to the Senate floor, recognizing the significance of her vote in the approval of judicial nominees appointed by President Joe Biden. Upon her return, the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee successfully approved six nominees put forward by Biden, with three of them passing through a party-line vote, as reported by CNN on Thursday. The voting process had been delayed during Feinstein's absence from Washington, D.C.
CNN reported that among the nominees approved along party lines were Charnelle Bjelkengren, who was nominated for the U.S. court in the Eastern District of Washington, S. Kato Crews for Colorado's U.S. district court, and Marian F. Gaston for the U.S. district court in the Southern District of California.
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