Rep. Ritchie Torres Calls for Sen. Dianne Feinstein to Resign
“I think if you’re a member, and you become a shadow of your former self, you should resign,” Torres told Insider this week, calling for the California senator to step down. “Once you’re no longer the best person to represent your state, you have a duty to move on.”
Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) has become the fifth House Democrat to call for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to resign after concerns about her health have intensified in the days since she returned to the Capitol after a prolonged absence after suffering complications from shingles.
Torres now joins Reps. Dean Phillips (D-MN), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) in calling for the longest-serving U.S. senator from California to retire.
Feinstein’s Health Issues
The New York Times reported recently that on top of shingles, Feinstein suffered from complications that include encephalitis, which can cause increased confusion, memory problems, and trouble walking, among other things. At one point, she suggested that she had not been away from Washington while speaking with reporters following her return.
Impact on Democrats’ Legislative Efforts
Feinstein returned to the chamber earlier this month amid enormous pressure from inside her party to come back or resign. Her absence from the Senate, which began in February following a shingles diagnosis, stymied Democrats’ ability to pass President Joe Biden’s nominees and legislative efforts. The party only controls the Senate by a 51-49 margin, meaning that one absence gives Republicans an opportunity to block any partisan effort.
Support and Criticism
After years of criticisms from those in her party that she was no longer up to the job, Feinstein said at the time of her diagnosis that she wouldn’t seek reelection in 2024, though she vowed to serve out the remaining 20 months of her term.
While there are a growing number of calls in the lower chamber for the California senator to resign, her Senate colleagues have not joined in. Other prominent Democrats are also standing by her, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The controversy surrounding Sen. Feinstein’s health and ability to serve has divided Democrats and raised questions about the party’s ability to pass legislation in a closely divided Senate.
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