On Thursday, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) announced that she had been hospitalized. Feinstein’s office issued a statement via e-mail that the 89-year-old, who is presently the oldest member of Congress, was in the hospital receiving treatment for the shingles virus, and is expecting to make a full recovery.
Per the statement:
“I was diagnosed over the February recess with a case of shingles. 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.”
Though Feinstein’s office insists she is expected to make a full recovery, the announcement comes on the heels of much speculation regarding the state of her health. Feinstein made news earlier in February with her semi-confusing announcement that she did not intend to seek re-election in 2024. As we noted at the time, the Senator, who’s held the seat since 1992, appeared unaware that her office had issued the formal statement on her retirement when questioned about it.
CORRECTION: After relistening audio, it sounds like she said, “I *should have* known they put it out.”
— Savannah Behrmann (@SavBehrmannDC) February 14, 2023
Two days later, Feinstein sparked concern when she emerged from the Senate chamber and was overheard conversing with her chief of staff, seemingly having forgotten the measure on which she had just voted.
With Feinstein’s hospitalization, that makes two Democrat senators who are out for an indefinite period due to illness, as John Fetterman (D-PA) remains hospitalized at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for depression. That, in turn, robs the Democrats (temporarily) of their majority in the Senate, though at 49-49, Vice President Kamala Harris would still be the tie-breaking vote. But that also could be playing a role in the overturn of the D.C. crime bill, as we reported yesterday — a victory for the Republicans (and for the citizens of D.C., one might argue).
Meanwhile, the race to replace Feinstein is heating up as Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Katie Porter (D-CA) have both declared their intention to run for the seat, while Barbara Lee (D-CA) continues to mull her own entry into the race. That should prove an interesting spectacle, even as we wish Senator Feinstein a full and speedy recovery.
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