Amid reports of continuing health struggles, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) appears to be facing questions about her mental fitness for the job she’s had for nearly a quarter of a century. Specifically, she reportedly asked fellow Senators on the floor "What is she [Vice President Kamala Harris] doing here?" when Harris showed up to be a tie-breaking vote.
That confusion has only heightened in the last few weeks when it was reported that Feinstein is dealing with additional health issues stemming from a bout of shingles. Those complications include Ramsay Hunt syndrome, which affects facial nerves and can lead to facial paralysis and encephalitis, a condition in which there is inflammation of the brain.
The Los Angeles Times also recently reported that Capitol Police and the Senate sergeant-at-arms have attempted to limit press access to Feinstein due to "safety reasons."
On top of all this, Feinstein, who is now 89, has announced that she will not be seeking re-election in 2024, a move which has set off a crowded and competitive race in California's 25th Congressional District. In the wake of her announcement, some fellow Democrats--including Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA)--have called upon Feinstein to step down before the end of her term, though Khanna recently stated that he is giving the “situation the benefit of the doubt.”
Despite the health struggles and questioning of her mental fitness, Feinstein remains adamant that she can continue to serve her constituents. In a statement, her office said, "Senator Feinstein remains committed to representing the people of California for the duration of her term. She is dedicating her best efforts to do the job the people elected her to do and will continue to do so for the remainder of her term."
It is unclear what the future holds for Feinstein and if she will continue to serve the last two years of her term. But it is evident that her health issues have some family, fellow Senators, and constituents concerned. Only time will tell if Feinstein is able to continue her service in the US Senate.