Following Confusion Over Vote, Feinstein to Return to California for August Recess

Sen. Dianne Feinstein plans to return to California for the first time in nearly three months, her spokesperson told The Chronicle. She has remained in Washington, D.C., since her reappearance in May after having shingles.

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Feinstein’s actions and whereabouts have drawn increased scrutiny since her return, including an incident Thursday in which she appeared confused during a vote. It came close on the heels of a separate incident in which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., suddenly stopped speaking and froze for 19 seconds during a news conference Wednesday until he was escorted away by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., who is a physician. McConnell was absent from the Senate for about a month earlier this year after being hospitalized with a concussion and a minor rib fracture.

While voting to approve an annual defense appropriations bill in committee Thursday, Feinstein got into a brief back-and-forth with Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash. 

Feinstein’s name was called to vote and Murray immediately told her “say aye. Aye.” Feinstein paused as if she was going to say more, and Murray repeated, “just say aye.” Feinstein then began reading from her remarks about the bill, and Murray again said, “just say aye.”

The Appropriations Committee markup was chaotic, her spokesperson Ron Eckstein said, and Feinstein had not realized debate had ended and votes were being taken.

It wasn’t the first time Feinstein appeared to be confused during a recent vote.

Feinstein mistakenly voted to support a Republican amendment to a Supreme Court ethics bill she sponsored June 20. She later corrected her vote. Eckstein said it’s common for members to need to correct their votes because they’re often moving between multiple committees.

Lawmakers often fly back to their home states during weekends or weeklong “district work periods.” The Senate was scheduled for breaks the week of May 22 and the weeks of June 26 and July 3, during which Feinstein remained in Washington. The annual August recess is set to begin July 28. Lawmakers are not expected to return to Washington until after Labor Day.

Feinstein returned to Washington May 9 after a nearly three-month absence while ill with a serious bout of shingles. She has only missed 10 of the 86 votes since her return to the Senate, and she hasn’t missed a single one since the beginning of June, according to a Chronicle analysis. 

Feinstein plans to meet with constituents in her office and attend some public events, including a celebration of the San Francisco cable cars on Aug. 2, Eckstein said.

Click here to read the full article in the SF Chronicle


  1. What a disgrace to not recognize her tenure of competency is over! Another reason no elected official should be serving over 70 years of age. Includes McConnell. What a disgrace………

  2. Not everybody 70 or over is as incompetent as Biden, Feinstein, McConnell and others – but we do have many elderly officials who should retire. It is hard to give up the prestige of being an elected official. The voters are asleep and uninformed obviously.

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