WH Slams Senate GOP For Blocking Feinstein’s Request To Be Temporarily Replaced

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 11: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in the Senate subway on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
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The White House slammed Senate Republicans on Tuesday for refusing to approve a request to temporarily replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on the Judicial Committee, a request Feinstein made personally so she could have more time to recover from an illness.

Replacing Feinstein temporarily would allow  the committee to keep advancing President Joe Biden judicial nominees to the Senate floor.

“We think this is a reasonable request,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters. “This is something that Sen. Feinstein asked for.”

Jean-Pierre also accused Republicans of seeking to get a “partisan advantage” from a colleague’s health issues.

“The American people reject that kind of scorched-earth behavior or approach to governing,” Jean-Pierre said.

Jean-Pierre’s remarks came shortly after Republicans blocked a request from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to temporarily replace Feinstein on the Judiciary Committee so that the committee can keep advancing judicial nominees to the Senate floor for a vote.

Last week, some Democrats called for the longtime senator to resign as she has been absent from Washington since being diagnosed with shingles in late February.

Feinstein has already announced she is not running for reelection in 2024 but her lengthy absence has frustrated some Democrats. 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.

Amid calls for her resignation, Feinstein asked Schumer to find a temporary substitute for her on the committee.

Republicans have made disingenuous claims that in blocking Schumer’s efforts, they’re simply trying to protect Feinstein from being boxed out while she’s away, even though the longtime congresswoman made the request herself.

“Senator Feinstein has been an extraordinary senator, and she’s a good friend of mine,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told the Daily Beast Monday. “During the past two years, there’s been a concerted campaign to force her out of the Judiciary Committee and I will have no part of that.”

But Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — who returned to the Senate this week from a nearly six-week absence after suffering a concussion — made the GOP’s motivations crystal clear Tuesday:  Republicans aren’t interested in helping Democrats get more Biden judicial nominees confirmed.

“The supposed emergency is the Senate Democrats are unable to push through the small fraction of their nominees who are so extreme, so extreme and so unqualified, that they cannot win a single Republican vote in committee,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.

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