Klobuchar: Feinstein’s absence ‘to become an issue as months go by’

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) addresses reporters following the weekly policy luncheon on Tuesday, January 24, 2023. (Greg Nash / The Hill)

(The Hill) – Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) on Sunday said fellow Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s absence will “become an issue as the months go by” amid calls for the California Democrat to resign.

“If this goes on month after month after month, then she’s gonna have to make a decision with her family and her friends about what her future holds, because this isn’t just about California; it’s also about the nation. … So it’s going to become an issue as the months go by. But I’m taking her at her word that she’s going to return,” Klobuchar said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“Many people have been out, as you know, for periods of time when they’re sick, and they have come back. In this case, we are going to need her vote on the Senate floor eventually, we have things like the debt ceiling coming up. But I think what we need to do is take her at her word, she is recovering from shingles and make sure she comes back,” the senator added.

Feinstein, 89, has been absent from the Senate for weeks as she recovers from shingles. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and others have called for Feinstein to resign, arguing that “she can no longer fulfill her duties.”

Feinstein requested Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) ask the Senate to allow another Democrat to temporarily serve in her role as Senate Judiciary Committee chair until she’s able to get back to work.

Klobuchar, who also serves on the Judiciary Committee, said on Sunday she thinks Feinstein “made the right decision” to ask for a replacement.

“I serve on that committee, and we cannot advance judges or legislation with a missing person, because of the close votes,” Klobuchar said. She also stressed concerns about the slim party divide in the upper chamber overall.

“When you look at the history, people have returned to the Senate when they’re sick. She said she has shingles. She has had shingles. And so, months down the road here, I think you get to that moment of that decision point. But right now, she says she’s going to return. Let’s make sure that happens. And it sure better happen before the debt ceiling vote.”


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