Sen. Dianne Feinstein suffered extra well being problems from her months-long battle with shingles that stored her away from Capitol Hill, elevating recent questions on her skill to proceed serving in Congress.
The New York Times reported Thursday that Feinstein, 89, suffered impaired imaginative and prescient and steadiness because of the sickness, in addition to facial paralysis generally known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome. The shingles additionally reportedly introduced on a uncommon case of encephalitis, which causes the mind to swell and can have an effect on language abilities, sleep and temper.
The Times quoted one supply near the senator as calling her present condition “frightening.” The six-term Feinstein (D-Calif.) makes use of a wheelchair to get round the Capitol and has given confused solutions to questions on her absence.
Feinstein introduced earlier this 12 months that she wouldn’t search re-election in 2024, however has adamantly refused to think about stepping down, main some near her to reportedly joke that she is going to think about doing so as soon as she’s useless.
“The Senate has critical, challenging work to do, and as the stakes are so high and she is not able to be present, to be informed and active, let alone have the rest she needs in order to recover, I feel she needs to step down,” Democratic donor Susie Tompkins Buell advised the Times. “And yet she isn’t willing in this state of mind.”
Meanwhile, the eldest daughter of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Nancy Carinne Prowda, has been photographed functioning as Feinstein’s caretaker in the hallways of Congress — in what some see as an influence transfer by the senator’s fellow San Franciscan.
Pelosi has endorsed Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) in the hotly contested race to succeed Feinstein. However, if Feinstein had been to resign earlier than the finish of her time period, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has pledged to nominate a black lady to fill the emptiness.
That would appear to clear the means for Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who has additionally introduced a Senate marketing campaign, to take the seat forward of Election Day 2024.
“If DiFi resigns right now, there is an enormous probability that Barbara Lee gets appointed — thus, it makes it harder for Schiff,” a supply close to the Pelosi family told Politico, including that the Feinstein-Pelosi association is “being kept under wraps and very, very closely held.”
“It’s very tricky, and political, because they want her to stay,” the supply additionally stated. “The political thinking is that if DiFi stays as long as possible, it helps Schiff as well.”
A spokesman for Feinstein’s workplace advised The Post: “Nancy Corrine is a dear friend of Senator Feinstein’s going back more than 40 years. She has been spending time with the senator as she continues to recover from shingles.”
Pelosi spokesperson Aaron Bennet stated Prowda “has been supporting [Feinstein] in her shingles recovery.”
“Speaker Emerita Pelosi and Senator Feinstein have been friends since long before their service in Congress — and their friendship is personal, not political,” Bennet stated. “Anyone who knows Senator Feinstein knows that her service in the Senate is entirely her own decision, and Speaker Emerita Pelosi would never suggest otherwise.”
Feinstein was initially hospitalized in February for her case of shingles, was launched in early March, and recovered at her San Francisco dwelling over the subsequent two months earlier than returning to Washington, DC, on May 10.
When requested about her restoration Tuesday, Feinstein insisted she had by no means left the nation’s capital.
“No, I haven’t been gone,” she advised reporters. “You should follow the — I haven’t been gone. I’ve been working.”
Asked for clarification about whether or not she had been working from dwelling, Feinstein replied, “No, I’ve been here. I’ve been voting. Please. You either know or don’t know.”
But her absence had scrambled Senate judicial affirmation votes for a little bit greater than two months, requiring her to hurry on votes for a lot of nominees upon her return to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Schiff’s marketing campaign reported $24.7 million money readily available by the finish of March this 12 months, dwarfing hauls from challengers together with Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Lee, who at present document marketing campaign funds of $9.4 million and $1.2 million, respectively.