(WASHINGTON) — Sen. Dianne Feinstein will return to Capitol Hill on Tuesday after a nearly three-month absence, an aide for the California Democrat confirmed to ABC News.
News of her return was first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Feinstein, 89, is set to return after she was hospitalized in February with a case of shingles. She was released in early March and had been continuing her recovery at home.
Her nonattendance in the Senate, which impacted some of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees, spurred debate within her own party about whether she should resign.
Some Democrats, including California Rep. Ro Khanna and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, argued the federal judiciary could be harmed if Feinstein didn’t step down.
But others, including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, came to Feinstein’s defense, saying she was being unfairly singled out.
“I don’t know what political agendas are at work that are going after Sen. Feinstein in that way,” Pelosi said in April. “I’ve never seen them go after a man who was sick in the Senate in that way.”
Feinstein issued a statement last week expressing confidence that judicial nominees who have stalled in committee will be confirmed upon her return.
“While the Senate Judiciary Committee has advanced eight strong nominees during my absence, I’m disappointed that Republicans on the committee are blocking a few from moving forward. I’m confident that when I return to the Senate, we will be able to move the remaining qualified nominees out of committee quickly and to the Senate floor for a vote,” the senator said.
Last month, Senate Republicans blocked a request by Democrats to temporarily replace Feinstein on the judiciary panel while she recovered.
Feinstein, the oldest sitting member of Congress, has been under scrutiny for years amid reports questioning her age or mental faculties. She’s pushed back against criticism multiple times, telling the Los Angeles Times in 2020, “I don’t feel my cognitive abilities have diminished.”
Feinstein announced earlier this year that she will not be seeking reelection in 2024.
“Even with a divided Congress, we can still pass bills that will improve lives. Each of us was sent here to solve problems. That’s what I’ve done for the last 30 years, and that’s what I plan to do for the next two years,” she said in her announcement.
Reps. Adam Schiff, Katie Porter and Barbara Lee are among the Democrats who have declared their candidacy for Feinstein’s vacated seat.
ABC News’ Alexandra Hutzler contributed to this report.
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