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Feinstein’s future ‘in her own hands’ amid extended health absence from Judiciary Committee, Durbin says

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin said Sen. Dianne Feinstein has spoken with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer about returning.

The future of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is “in her own hands,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Sunday, as Feinstein’s extended absence from the panel due to health issues has some fellow Democrats calling for her resignation.

Durbin, who succeeded Feinstein as chair of the Judiciary Committee, said during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the longtime lawmaker has undergone “several weeks of travail” over a health issue involving shingles, but still wants to return to serve the committee. 

“She said to Chuck Schumer last week that ‘I want to get on a plane next Monday and be there,’” Durbin said. “I want her to come back, too, but her future is in her own hands and her family’s consultation. I wish her the best and I hope she can return very soon.”


Feinstein has been sidelined since early March after her office announced she was being treated for shingles at a San Francisco hospital.

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When asked if he had “any regrets” over keeping Feinstein on the committee despite the senator’s health challenges, Durbin cited Feinstein’s record of service and claimed that it was the right call when he made it.

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“She’s served on this committee for decades and served with distinction,” Durbin said. “She stepped aside from the chairmanship and gave me an opportunity to serve as chairman. She wanted to stay on the committee for other issues that were important to her. It made sense and I think it was the right decision at the time.”

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While Durbin said he would not call for Feinstein’s resignation, other Democrats have.

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Earlier this month, Reps. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., and Dean Phillips, D-Minn., both commended Feinstein’s lifetime of public service but said it was time for her to step down if she could no longer fulfill her duties.

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