Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has a major problem to deal with in the Senate. That problem just got worse.
Because Chuck Schumer’s been hit with shocking news that gave him a massive migraine.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who has been absent from the Senate for several months, released a statement on Thursday evening that not only clarifies that she is not resigning but also disputes the claim made by the Democratic Party on the confirmation of Biden’s judicial nominees.
Due to difficulties from her shingles diagnosis, the 89-year-old senator has been missing from her post in the Senate.
The Senate continues to swiftly confirm highly qualified individuals to the federal judiciary, including seven more judicial nominees who were confirmed this week. There has been no slowdown.https://t.co/9Q2lQOr68I
— Senator Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) May 4, 2023
The statement was unambiguous from the outset in its intent to put an end to any frenzied hand wringing emanating not only from the mainstream media but also from Feinstein’s fellow Democrats.
Feinstein nonetheless criticizes the opposition, stating that she is “disappointed that Republicans are blocking a few in the [Senate Judiciary] committee.” But what she said after that hurt her fellow Democrats much more. “I’m confident that when I return, we will be able to move the remaining qualified nominees to the Senate floor for a vote.”
While the Senate Judiciary Committee has advanced eight strong nominees during my absence, I’m disappointed that Republicans are blocking a few in committee. I’m confident that when I return, we will be able to move the remaining qualified nominees to the Senate floor for a vote.
— Senator Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) May 4, 2023
The operative word in that sentence is “when,” not “if.”
Despite not seeming to have any further information to share, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was seen carrying notes to a press conference on Tuesday that stated he “hopes” Feinstein will return “next week.”
Feinstein’s speech included factual data, such as the fact that eight judicial nominations were advanced by the committee while she was away. Seven federal judicial nominations have been confirmed by the Senate, including Judge Wesley Hsu for the Central District of California in Feinstein’s home state.
Additionally, it provided background information on “every federal district or circuit court nominee in the Senate during Senator Feinstein’s absence” and a fact-check on five statements regarding how Feinstein’s absence has impacted judicial nominees.
The message also points out that Democrats still hold a majority in Congress even without Feinstein in response to one of them. After the 2022 midterm elections, they actually increased their margin of victory because retiring Republican senator from Pennsylvania Pat Toomey was replaced by Democrat John Fetterman.
“Democrats maintain a 50-49 majority on the floor and are able to continue confirming judges with or without bipartisan support. During the last Congress, the Senate confirmed 97 judges while the Senate was split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans,” one bullet point reads.
Concerning claims that there is “a large backlog of nominees who are unable to advance out of the Senate Judiciary Committee due to Senator Feinstein’s absence,” the statement notes that “Only four district or circuit court nominees are currently eligible for a vote in committee,” with one bullet point also stating that “Senator Feinstein’s absence does not prevent the committee from holding a hearing on any nominees.”
Last but not least, a bullet point in the document states that “If the Senate did nothing but confirm judicial nominees, it would likely take at least three weeks of floor time to confirm all of the judicial nominees currently pending on the floor.” This is in response to claims from some Democrats that the Senate is not moving judicial nominees quickly enough.
Rep. Ro Khanna, a fellow Californian Democrat who has also called on Feinstein to step down, has been at the forefront of this movement.
Even though as of Thursday night he had not made reference to Feinstein’s statement on Twitter, he did share a quote from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who had just joined other Democratic lawmakers, in calling for Feinstein to retire.
According to Journalist Brian Krassenstein the congresswoman opined that Feinstein “should retire. I think criticisms of that stance as ‘anti-feminist’ are a farce. Her refusal to either retire or show up is causing great harm to the judiciary–precisely where reproduction rights are getting stripped. That failure means now in this precious window Dems can only pass GOP-approved nominees.”
Both Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ro Khanna are calling for the resignation of Senator Dianne Feinstein:@AOC stated:
"[Dianne Feinstein] should retire. I think criticisms of that stance as 'anti-feminist' are a farce. Her refusal to either retire or show up is causing great… pic.twitter.com/zEVcMc28n2
— Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) May 4, 2023
This has turned into a major headache for Chuck Schumer as he’s stuck between defending the old guard establishment of the Democrat Party, of which Feinstein is a part, and acknowledging the reality that Feinstein is obviously not fit for her job anymore.
Either way, Schumer’s “leadership” in the Senate has been mediocre at best and downright embarrassing at worst.
Americans can see this and will be keeping in mind the Democrats’ incompetence when the 2024 election cycle comes around, which will be utterly massive.
Stay tuned to the DC Daily Journal.