(DCWatchdog.com) – The top Republican in the US Senate, Mitch McConnell, has refused to heed Democrat calls for an agreement to oust elderly Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) from the Senate Judiciary Committee so that Democrats can appoint more judges to the federal bench.
89-year-old Feinstein is in her sixth and last Senate term. She has been absent from Congress for over a month, hospitalized in early March after suffering shingles.
Feinstein’s absence from the Senate Judiciary Committee has delayed the confirmations of judges nominated by Democrat President Joe Biden.
In comments on Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader McConnell (R-KY) made it clear the GOP would not help the Democrats get their judicial nominees appointed by agreeing to replace Feinstein.
“Senate Republicans will not take part in sidelining a temporary absent colleague off the committee just so Democrats can force through their very worst nominees,” McConnell said, as cited by CNN.
At least a dozen Biden-nominated judges are awaiting their Senate confirmation, The National Review reported.
It remains to be seen when Feinstein, the longest-serving female senator in US history, would return to active duty.
She is recovering at home in San Francisco, missing dozens of Senate votes in March and April.
Last week, the California Democrat issued a statement noting that her absence has caused frustrated the political agenda of her party.
“I understand that my absence could delay the important work of the Judiciary Committee, so I’ve asked Leader Schumer to ask the Senate to allow another Democratic senator to temporarily serve until I’m able to resume my committee work,” Feinstein stated.
The top Senate Republican, Mitch McConnell, was himself absent from Congress after a fall in early March led to his hospitalization.
His return to the Senate on Monday was marked by a commitment to block the Democrats’ efforts to replace Feinstein on the Judiciary Committee.
Appointing another Democrat in her place would take 60 votes, meaning at least 10 GOP legislators would have to support it.
Far-left Democrats in the US House of Representatives, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ro Khanna (D-CA), have urged Feinstein to relinquish her duties immediately.
“It’s time for Senator Feinstein to resign. 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. Not speaking out undermines our credibility as elected representatives of the people,” Khanna wrote on Twitter.
“She’s had a very long and stellar career, you know, but missing that many votes, stopping us from moving forward with our judge nominations,” another far-left Democrat, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), told CNN on Monday.
Other Democrat Senators, such as Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), have defended Feinstein’s right not to resign.
“She’s a team player, and she’s an extraordinary member of the Senate. It’s her right. She’s been voted by her state to be senator for six years. She has the right, in my opinion, to decide when she steps down,” Gillibrand said.
McConnell has rejected calls from a growing chorus of Democrats for Republicans to cooperate with their efforts to replace Dianne Feinstein on the Judiciary Committee. https://t.co/SfiVoCKOLd
— National Review (@NRO) April 18, 2023