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Feinstein pushes back against accounts that she is mentally unfit to serve as a senator

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) pushes back against lawmakers’ accounts that her memory has deteriorated and she is mentally unfit to serve, insisting she remains a productive senator at age 88 .

“The real question is whether I am still an effective representative for 40 million Californians, and the record shows that I am,” she said in a statement Thursday.

Feinstein, who is the oldest U.S. senator, took the initiative to respond to a San Francisco Chronicle report that said four Senate colleagues — including three Democrats — and three of the lawmaker’s former staffers and a California Democrat to the House said his memory was rapidly deteriorating. . Various people said the Legislator’s staff did most of the work due to what they described as his cognitive decline.

The House Democrat told the Chronicle of a recent encounter with Feinstein that was so shocking that she no longer seemed like the intellectual and political force that had won her praise from members on both sides of the aisle for years.

Those quoted in the Chronicle report spoke anonymously.

This Senate is the oldest in American history. Should we do something about this?

In her statement, Feinstein said she had spent much of her time over the past year caring for her late husband Richard C. Blum, who died in February at the age of 86 after having fight against cancer. But she said she stayed true to representing her constituents despite the significant personal loss.

“I remain committed to doing what I said when I was re-elected in 2018: fight for Californians, including on the economy and the key issues for California of water and fire,” a- she writes. “Although I have been focused for much of the past year on the health and passing of my husband, I have remained determined to achieve results and would pit my record against anyone’s.”

Feinstein highlighted her leadership role in reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act with bipartisan support, which President Biden signed into law in March. And she said she got more direct government funding for her state than almost any other Democratic senator.

Feinstein, who was elected in 1992, served as mayor of San Francisco and chairman of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Her current term ends in 2024. If she decides to retire early, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom will appoint a successor.

Feinstein, as the first Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, faced criticism in 2020 for her handling of the Supreme Court nomination of Justice Amy Coney Barrett. There were grumblings from many on the left of the party who wanted a stronger effort to block, or at least protest, President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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Feinstein later relinquished the top Democratic seat on the Judiciary Committee, a position that draws considerable attention and power in overseeing judicial appointments and other key issues.

At least four other senators serving with Feinstein are over 80 — all men. But only one, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), who is also 88 but a few months younger than Feinstein, is seeking re-election this year.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who worked with Feinstein in Washington for three decades, cited the lawmaker’s continued dedication to Californians amid discussions about his ability to serve.

“Senator Feinstein is a workhorse to the people of California and a respected leader among her Senate colleagues,” Pelosi said in a statement Thursday. “She constantly travels between California and the Capitol, working tirelessly to ensure the needs of Californians are met and voices are heard.”


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