Calls for Senator Dianne Feinstein’s Resignation Grow Amid Health Struggles and Absences from Senate

Calls for California Senator Dianne Feinstein to resign have grown louder in recent days, with Democratic Representative Ro Khanna leading the charge.[0] Khanna stated that Feinstein can no longer fulfill her duties and called for her to step down. He was the first Democratic lawmaker to publicly call for her resignation. Other Democrats, including Representative Dean Phillips of Minnesota, have also expressed agreement with Khanna's message.[1]

Feinstein, who is 89 and the oldest member of Congress, has been absent from the Senate since February due to complications related to shingles.[2] She has missed 58 votes in the Senate during this time, including those involving judges, which has made it more difficult for Senate Democrats to confirm President Joe Biden's judicial nominees.[3] Feinstein is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is currently made up of 11 Democrats and 10 Republicans.[4]

Feinstein has already announced that she will not seek re-election in 2024, but she still holds her seat for another 20 months.[2] Democratic Representatives Katie Porter, Barbara Lee, and Adam Schiff have each announced their intention to try and fill her seat in 2024.[5] Initially, it was anticipated that Khanna would contest for Feinstein's position, however, he has now given his approval to Lee and is serving as her co-chair for the campaign.[6]

Feinstein has stated that she intends to return to the Senate as soon as her medical team advises that it is safe for her to travel.[7] In the meantime, she has asked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to allow another Democratic senator to temporarily serve on the Judiciary Committee until she can resume her committee work.[8]

Some Democrats, however, believe that Feinstein should step down now due to her health struggles and questions about whether she still has the mental stamina to be an effective senator.[9] Critics have also pointed out that her prolonged absence has slowed down the party's push to confirm nominees, leading Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin to acknowledge that her absence has stalled their efforts.[10]

If Feinstein were to resign before her term ends in January 2025, it would be up to Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom to fill the vacancy.[7] Newsom has pledged to appoint a Black woman if Feinstein were to retire before the end of her term. The instant frontrunner for the seat is likely to be Representative Barbara Lee of Oakland, whom Khanna is supporting.[7]

Feinstein has not provided a timeline for her return to the Capitol, but the Senate reconvenes on April 17, and it is unclear whether she will return to Washington at that time.[11] In the meantime, pressure is mounting for her to step down and allow someone else to take on her duties.

0. “2 Democratic congressmen call for Sen. Dianne Feinstein to resign” MarketWatch, 12 Apr. 2023,

1. “Dianne Feinstein: Democrats call on Senator Dianne Feinstein to resign” BBC, 13 Apr. 2023,

2. “Progressive Bay Area congressman calls on Feinstein to resign” KRON4, 12 Apr. 2023,

3. “2 House Dems call on California Sen. Feinstein to resign” KCRA Sacramento, 13 Apr. 2023,

4. “First Democrats in U.S. House Say It's Time for Dianne Feinstein to Resign” The Daily Beast, 12 Apr. 2023,

5. “Crooked Media co-founder says Feinstein should resign” The Hill, 11 Apr. 2023,

6. “House Dems are beginning to call on Sen. Dianne Feinstein to resign” Business Insider, 12 Apr. 2023,

7. “Under pressure to quit, Dianne Feinstein says she plans to return to the Senate” Sacramento Bee, 12 Apr. 2023,

8. “Fellow Democrats turn on Dianne Feinstein, call for her to resign from Senate: ‘dereliction of duty'” Fox News, 12 Apr. 2023,

9. “Democrats raise alarms as Feinstein's absence stalls Biden's judicial picks” NBC News, 12 Apr. 2023,

10. “Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna calls on Feinstein to resign” KOMU 8, 13 Apr. 2023,

11. “Where Is California Senator Dianne Feinstein?” NBC San Diego, 13 Apr. 2023,

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