Democratic Senate majority at risk as Senator Dianne Feinstein, 89, is hospitalized for shingles — weeks after John Fetterman was also hospitalized with clinical depression
- Feinstein’s staff announced last month that she will not be seeking re-election
- She missed several Senate votes this week, but is expected to make a full recovery
- “I hope to return to the Senate later this month,” said the California senator
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California was hospitalized with shingles in recent days and is now receiving treatment in her hometown of San Francisco, her office announced Thursday.
Feinstein missed a key vote on Wednesday when the Senate voted 50 to 46 to block a Biden administration rule that allows pension fund managers to consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in investment decisions. She also missed a few Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.
“I was diagnosed with shingles during February recess. I have been hospitalized and treated in San Francisco and expect to make a full recovery. I hope to return to the Senate later this month,” she said through her spokesperson, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The news of Feinstein’s hospitalization comes weeks after it was announced she would end her long and sweeping political career.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has been hospitalized with shingles, her office said
There was some confusion initially when Feinstein told reporters she was unaware that her staff had sent a statement making the announcement.
She had moved away from her crucial role as chairman of the judiciary committee after multiple reports that she had trouble remembering details about personnel and legislation.
Some Democrats also complained about her handling of now-Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing.
Shingles is a virus — the same virus that causes chickenpox — that can lead to a painful, blistered rash. It is not considered life-threatening, but is usually very painful.
She was first elected in 1992 and is now the oldest serving female senator.
Democratic Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania also missed votes this week as he continues treatment for clinical depression at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
Their absence highlighted the fragility of the Democrats’ narrow 51-49 Senate majority (including three independents who meet with the party).
Though she relinquished her chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democrats only have an 11-10 majority on that panel, where the minority can delay nominations if membership is evenly split.
Dianne Feinstein addresses the Democratic National Convention in 1992. She was scheduled to be elected to the Senate in November 1992 and has been in office ever since.
San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein is shown in her office, December 11, 1978.
Dianne Feinstein, the first female president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, at San Francisco City Hall in San Francisco, California, September 28, 1971.