Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he will bring forward a resolution this week to temporarily replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“I’d like to do it sometime this week,” Schumer said at a Monday press conference.
Schumer’s remarks come amid some Democrats’ calls for the longtime senator to resign. Feinstein — who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee — has already announced she is not running for reelection and has been absent from Washington since being diagnosed with shingles in late February. Since then, the 89-year-old senator has missed nearly 60 votes and, without her, President Biden’s judicial nominees have been stuck in a tied committee, waiting for their nominations to be advanced to the Senate floor.
Schumer added he hopes Republicans will support the resolution to fill Feinstein’s seat on the committee as she recovers from shingles.
“I spoke to Sen. Feinstein just a few days ago. She believes she will return soon. She’s very hopeful of that and so am I,” Schumer said. “We should have a temporary replacement until she [returns] and we hope Republicans will join us in that.”
“It’s the only right and fair thing to do. That’s the correct thing to do and we hope they will do it,” he added.
To replace Feinstein on the panel, Schumer will have to offer an updated organizing resolution that names a new Democratic senator to the Judiciary Committee. And the Majority Leader will need consent from all 100 senators to make it happen quickly. But that’s unlikely to happen as Republicans — like Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) — have already said they will not support any committee swaps.
“I will not go along with Chuck Schumer’s plan to replace Sen. Feinstein on the Judiciary Committee and pack the court with activist judges,” Blackburn announced in a Monday tweet.
With Republicans opposed to unanimous consent, Schumer will instead need to secure 60 votes to pass a resolution to temporarily replace Feinstein — meaning he will need at least 10 Senate Republicans to vote in favor of the swap.
It is not yet clear which Democrat Schumer might peg to replace Feinstein on the Judiciary Committee. Schumer said he would have to talk with his caucus to figure out who would be a good choice to fill in for Feinstein during her absence.
The Majority Leader added he plans to discuss the issue with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — who just came back to work on Monday after more than a month of absence as he recovered from a concussion he recently suffered after a fall.