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Politics & Policy

Sen. Dianne Feinstein is returning to D.C. after extended absence

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein arrives for a Senate briefing on China at the U.S Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 15, 2023. | Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Sen. Dianne Feinstein is headed back to Washington, D.C., after an extended absence due to health issues.

Feinstein was traveling back to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, her spokesperson Adam Russell confirmed in an email. The veteran lawmaker was diagnosed with a case of shingles in February and subsequently hospitalized; she has since been recuperating in San Francisco.

Feinstein had initially hoped to return to the Senate by the end of March, but suffered complications from the illness that ultimately led her to miss dozens of votes. Her prolonged absence from the Senate Judiciary Committee also impeded the Biden administration’s ability to move forward with the nomination and appointment of key federal judges.

Feinstein’s office couldn’t immediately provide further details on when exactly her Senate work will resume or her current health status.

Her extended absence prompted calls by Reps. Ro Khanna and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez for Feinstein—the longest-serving current member of the Senate—to resign.

The 89-year-old senator has faced ongoing questions about her health and announced this year that she will not seek reelection in 2024.

Reps. Adam Schiff, Barbara Lee and Katie Porter are competing to replace Feinstein in the Senate when her term ends.

Annie Gaus can be reached at