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Tipsheet

Chuck Schumer Remains 'Hopeful' That This Is When Dianne Feinstein Will Return

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has been out for two months now, leaving many to wonder if she'll ever return, especially as some of her Democratic colleagues demand that she resign. Such calls may be premature, though, as the 89-year-old senator, who will not run for another term, may be returning soon after all. 

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It is key to note that her own spokesperson says they "don’t have a timeline yet for her return to Washington," as she is experiencing complications from shingles. Further, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) did not speak about the absence during his Tuesday press conference. POLITICO did manage to share a picture of the notes he was holding, though, which indicate that he just recently spoke to Feinstein.

The majority leader is "hopeful" that Feinstein will return "next week," though. The bolded question on Schumer's notes also highlights that he was prepared to discuss but was looking to avoid directly answering "isn't is [sic] time to tell Senator Feinstein she has to either return next week or resign?" 

This was mentioned on Schumer's notes in relation to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's warning from Monday that the United States may default on its debt as soon as June 1. 

Schumer didn't discuss Feinstein's absence because he wasn't asked about it. As the POLITICO report explains:

Schumer did not address Feinstein’s absence aloud during the press conference.

“It was in his notes, and he would have said if someone asked,” Schumer’s spokesperson told POLITICO.

Earlier on Tuesday Feinstein’s office told POLITICO that Feinstein “continues to make progress in her recovery” from shingles, but that her staff “don’t have a timeline yet for her return to Washington, which is dependent on her medical team saying it is safe to travel.”

A Feinstein spokesperson confirmed the senator and Schumer spoke, originally confirming the majority leader’s notes that the conversation occurred Monday and later saying that it happened Sunday night.

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As has been the case for over a month now, Democrats are concerned about what Feinstein's absence means about confirming President Joe Biden's judicial nominees out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and passing legislation given that their majority in the Senate is so small. 

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who serves as the chairman of the committee, and who had replaced Feinstein as the top Democrat on the committee in 2020, has been repeatedly asked about her absence. He spoke with CNN's Manu Raju earlier on Tuesday, the same day that the committee held a hearing on "Supreme Court Ethics Reform."

While Democrats and the leftist media lament how Feinstein's absence could affect judicial nominees, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)--the latter who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee--have pointed out that it's the particularly partisan and extreme nominees that can't advance.

Feinstein's absence does complicate the kind of action that Democrats can take when it comes to their political crusade against conservative members of the U.S. Supreme Court, including and especially Justice Clarence Thomas. Durbin had previously invited Chief Justice John Roberts to appear on Tuesday, but his unusual request was denied. Roberts sent a rejection letter to the chairman reminding him about the separation of powers and urging him to stay in his lane. 

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Such partisanship was very much on display during Tuesday's hearing, as Townhall has highlighted, but Republican members were strong in providing pushback. It's also evident that Durbin isn't even sure if he presently has the votes to take such definitive action on the Court and justices.  

Feinstein had asked Schumer to replace her on the committee, which he aimed to do with Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) through unanimous consent. That move was blocked by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee. 


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