Camera Captures Schumer's Notes About Fellow Dem's Health Status - Eyebrows Raised After Office Contradicts It
Will Sen. Dianne Feinstein return to Washington next week?
Notes photographed in the hand of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday indicated Feinstein might be back as soon as next week, Politico reported.
Schumer never addressed Feinstein’s absence during the news conference at which he held those notes, but his spokesperson confirmed that “it was in his notes, and he would have said [it] if someone asked.”
Feinstein’s own team said Thursday that the ailing 89-year-old California lawmaker does plan to return to her duties, but they were vague about the timeline, according to Axios.
Feinstein has been absent from Congress since February, when she was hospitalized with shingles. She was later released from the hospital and has been recuperating at home.
While she has been gone, she has missed dozens of Senate votes, including key judicial confirmations, prompting many to call for her resignation so a replacement can be appointed.
The photo that Politico ran of Schumer’s notes appears to have been taken while Schumer held the document behind his back.
The notes were in a question-and-answer format containing sample questions in bold print, followed by prepared responses. All of the questions addressed the debt limit, which Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned this week could be breached by June 1.
Near the bottom of the page, one question asked, “With the new June 1 deadline, isn’t it time to tell Senator Feinstein she has to either return next week or resign?”
The planned response read, “I spoke with Sen. Feinstein yesterday. We are both hopeful she can return next week.”
Feinstein ‘hopeful’ she can return to Senate next week, Schumer notes say https://t.co/zvQOv2OfIE
— POLITICO (@politico) May 2, 2023
Axios quoted a statement from Feinstein that confirmed her intent to return, but the document “did not include an exact return date.”
The New York Times on Friday called on Feinstein to “make a painful choice” to resign, saying that if she doesn’t, Senate leadership should make the decision for her.
“If she cannot fulfill her obligations to the Senate and to her constituents, she should resign and turn over her responsibilities to an appointed successor,” the Times editorial board wrote.
“If she is unable to reach that decision on her own, Mr. Schumer, the majority leader, and other Democratic senators should make it clear to her and the public how important it is that she do so.”
Feinstein has announced that she does not plan to run for re-election in 2024.
Even before her current illness, former allies were calling for her to be replaced due to declining mental faculties, the Times reported, citing a story published last year by Feinstein’s hometown newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle.
“She cannot keep up with conversations, her colleagues said; she doesn’t seem to fully recognize other senators and relies almost entirely on staff members, to a much greater extent than other senators do,” the Times reported.
“Her staff is, in effect, assuming the authority entrusted to her by California’s voters.”
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