Feinstein returning to Senate after facing resignation calls

Senate Feinstein (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Senate Feinstein (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office disclosed Tuesday that she is returning to Washington, following an absence of more than two months in which the oldest member of Congress faced calls from within her own party to resign.

The 89-year-old California Democrat announced in early March that she had been hospitalized in San Francisco and was being treated for a case of shingles. But an expected return later that month never happened.

Few details emerged on her condition during that time, and some Democrats openly complained that her lengthy absence was compromising the Democratic agenda in the Senate, including slowing the push to confirm President Joe Biden's judicial nominees. Some urged her to step down.

Earlier this month, Feinstein said in a statement that “there has been no slowdown.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer confirmed Feinstein's return in a statement and said he was pleased “my friend Dianne is back in the Senate and ready to roll up her sleeves and get to work.”

Feinstein's office said she was traveling and expected to be in Washington Tuesday evening. It wasn't immediately clear when she would appear in the Senate for evening votes.

Feinstein, who took office in 1992, announced earlier this year she would not seek reelection in 2024. The senator has faced questions in recent years about her cognitive health and memory, though she has defended her effectiveness.