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Diane Feinstein denies she was ever absent from US Senate after months spent recovering from shingles

Feinstein faces calls to resign due to questions around her cognitive abilities

Sravasti Dasgupta
Wednesday 17 May 2023 09:08 BST
Feinstein returns to work after 2-month absence

Democrat Dianne Feinstein has denied that she was ever absent from the Senate after having spent months away recovering from shingles.

Last week the 89-year-old California senator, the longest-serving Democrat in the current Senate, returned after her bout with shingles and cast a vote on the floor looking noticeably thinner and using a wheelchair, reported Associated Press.

Her office said she would operate on a reduced schedule as she continued to recover.

However, while interacting with reporters from the Slate and Los Angeles Times Ms Feinstein denied that she was ever absent.

“No, I haven’t been gone,” she said to LA Times’s Ben Oreskes on Tuesday when asked how her Senate colleagues have responded to her return, reported Slate.

“....I haven’t been gone, I’ve been working,” she said.

Mr Oreskes then asked her whether she had been working from home.

“No, I’ve been here. I’ve been voting,” she said. “Please, you either know or don’t know.”

Ms Feinstein faced calls to resign from her party colleagues due to questions around her cognitive abilities.

With Feinstein back in the Senate, and voting in the committee, the panel approved three federal district court judge nominations that had been stalled.

Her 10-week absence meant that the committee’s votes were tied along party lines and Democrats could not move forward with any nominees without Republican support.

Party colleagues including Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ro Khanna of California had called for her to resign.

Ms Feinstein announced earlier this year that she would not seek re-election.

She has more than a year and a half left until her term expires in January 2025.

She also did not assume the role of Senate President Pro Tempore earlier this year, which is usually reserved for the senior most senator of the majority party.

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