Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), 90, had to be instructed to "just say aye" during a vote in a Thursday committee hearing.
During an Appropriations subcommittee meeting, Feinstein was called on for a roll call vote on the Defense Appropriations Act when she began to give a speech in support of the bill instead of voting.
"I would like to support a ‘yes’ vote on this. It provides $823 billion, that's an increase of $26 billion for the Department of Defense and it funds priorities..." Feinstein read off a sheet before a staffer attempted to explain it was a vote. Fellow Democratic senator Patty Murray (Wash.) then cut in and said, "Just say aye."
Feinstein replied "Okay ... just?" before finally giving her affirmative vote.
It's the latest episode of confusion for the elderly senator, who was at home for three months earlier this year with a serious case of the shingles that included vision and balance impairments caused by Ramsay Hunt syndrome.
Upon her return in May, Feinstein seemed to forget that she had been gone.
"No, I haven’t been gone," she told reporters in May after she was asked how her colleagues have treated her since she returned to the Senate.
"No, I’ve been here. I’ve been voting," Feinstein said. "Please. You either know or don’t know."
Some Democrats, including Reps. Ro Khanna (Calif.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), have called for Feinstein to step down after her months-long health struggle.
Feinstein announced in February that she plans to retire after this term but then quickly seemed to forget she had made the announcement.
Her mishaps are not new. A book released earlier this year detailed how Feinstein confused one black senator for another. In 2021, she approached Sen. Tim Scott (R., S.C.), who has been in the Senate since 2013, and "stuck out her hand, and told him she had been rooting for him and was so happy to have him serving with her in the Senate." Scott and his team said that "Feinstein had mistaken the South Carolinian for Raphael Warnock, the newly elected Democratic senator from Georgia."
Published under: Dianne Feinstein