Sen. Dianne Feinstein's mental fitness to serve in the world's greatest deliberative body remains in doubt a week after her return to the Senate following a three-month sabbatical.
Since February, the 89-year-old Democrat has been recuperating from shingles in California.
Her long-awaited return on May 10 not only restored the Senate Democratic Caucus' full attendance after Feinstein and Pennsylvania Sen.
John Fetterman had been absent for much of the spring, but it also restored Democrats' one-seat margin on the powerful Judiciary Committee to help advance President Joe Biden's judicial nominations.
When Feinstein was brought into the Capitol for a vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer met her. Schumer said Feinstein was “exactly where she wants to be, ready to do the things she loves most – serving the people of California.” She is the longest-serving US woman senator, elected in 1992.
However, Feinstein's ability to return to her hard position was questioned. Feinstein's office stated last week that she is still "experiencing some side effects" from shingles and that her physicians encouraged her to "work a lighter schedule" when she returned to the Senate. “Where am I going?” she asked staff upon arriving at the Capitol for voting.
Feinstein told reporters Tuesday, "I haven't been gone," according to the Los Angeles Times and Slate. Voted here. Either way, please.” Feinstein may have meant the week since her return or the months she spent healing at home.
Democrats are happy to have Feinstein back in the Senate but won't question her capacity to serve. “I’m happy she’s returned,” Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono told CNN.
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