Senator Dianne Feinstein Hospitalized in California, Leaving Democrats Without Senate Majority


Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California has been hospitalized with shingles.

“I was diagnosed over the February recess with a case of shingles,” Feinstein, 89, who has said she will retire when her term ends next year, said in a statement to several outlets, including the Los Angeles Times and KFSN-TV.

“I have been hospitalized and am receiving treatment in San Francisco and expect to make a full recovery. I hope to return to the Senate later this month,” she said in the statement.

The absence of Feinstein and fellow Democratic Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania means that the Senate’s Democratic 51-49 majority has temporarily vanished.

With 98 sitting senators, there would be 49 Democrats and 49 Republicans. At least on paper.

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However, Senate math is fluid because in addition to Fetterman and Feinstein, there have been other absences, as noted by the Washington Examiner.

Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon missed this week’s votes after his mother died on Monday. Last month, Democratic Sen. Bob Casey missed a stretch of votes when he had prostate cancer surgery.

Republicans have been down one person with the absence of Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho, which means the chamber has been at 48-48 status for much of the week.

Despite the nominal tie, Democrats can still enjoy a functional majority status. Vice President Kamala Harris can cast the tie-breaking vote to allow judicial nominations to clear the Senate.

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Feinstein has represented California since 1992.  Democratic Reps. Katie Porter, Adam Schiff, and Barbara Lee have all indicated they will campaign for her seat next year, according to the LA Times.

Hugh Gurdon, editor-in-chief of the Washington Examiner, indicated he believes a major change is taking place in Washington with a new political alignment.

“Things have changed for the better on Capitol Hill. Republicans are passing legislation, which hasn’t happened since 2020, and there is a pleasing, if limited, measure of bipartisanship, which had been absent throughout the grim tenure of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA),” he wrote in an Op-Ed.

“It is not just that Republicans now own the House majority and that Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has, as Karl Rove pointed out, restored regular order and respect across the aisle. Nor is it that House Democrats are helping pass GOP legislation, let alone in gratitude that the minority is no longer treated with contempt,” he wrote.

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“Republican legislation is passing, rather, because McCarthy is holding his once-fractious conference together — he only has five votes to spare — and because Democrats have lost their Senate majority,” he wrote.

Gurdon noted that Senate Democrats are showing an independent turn of mind, as shown by the support of Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana for a resolution Democrats oppose that would block a rule dictating how retirement fund managers should invest.

“Biden wouldn’t have this problem if Democrats were less inclined to prop up tottering candidates for jobs that they are clearly incapable of doing. It makes stark the priority Democrats give to winning elections rather than governing effectively,” he wrote.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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