U.S. Senator Feinstein, recuperating from a bout of shingles and facing calls from fellow Democrats to resign, said on Wednesday her return to the Senate has been delayed and she would temporarily step down from the Judiciary Committee.
Feinstein, 89, who has not voted in the narrowly divided Senate since mid-February, said she would continue to work from home in San Francisco while receiving treatment for a shingles infection.
“I intend to return as soon as possible once my medical team advises that it’s safe for me to travel,” Feinstein said.
She said “my absence could delay the important work of the Judiciary Committee” and has asked to step down until she is able to resume work.
U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer will grant Feinstein’s request and ask the Senate next week to allow another Democratic senator to temporarily serve on the committee, a Schumer spokesperson said in a statement.
Earlier on Wednesday, Feinstein faced the first public calls for her resignation by Democrats.
“We need to put the country ahead of personal loyalty. While she has had a lifetime of public service, it is obvious she can no longer fulfill her duties,” California Representative Ro Khanna said on Twitter.
Representative Dean Phillips said on Twitter “it’s now a dereliction of duty to remain in the Senate and a dereliction of duty for those who agree to remain quiet.”
Feinstein, who will not run when up for reelection in 2024, is currently the oldest serving U.S. senator.