Senator Dianne Feinstein returned to Washington on Tuesday evening after spending a week in San Francisco while her husband was hospitalized.
The California Democrat’s return comes as Congress continues to seek a solution to keep government open and raise the debt ceiling ahead of Thursday’s federal funding deadline. Republicans blocked Democrats’ efforts on Monday – a vote Feinstein missed.
“Senator Feinstein is returning to Washington this evening after staying in San Francisco while her husband was hospitalized,” a spokesperson for Feinstein said in a statement to POLITICO. “Her husband is now recovering at home. “
The Hill was the first to note Feinstein’s absence on Monday. A spokesperson said it was a “family medical emergency,” adding that the senator would have voted with Democrats on Monday.
“The senator is closely monitoring the voting situation in the Senate and will return to Washington as soon as possible”, Hill reporter Jordain Carney tweeted on Monday, relaying a message from Feinstein’s team.
Feinstein last voted on September 14, before the Senate took several days off. She has missed every vote since returning to the chamber on September 20.
Her husband, investment banker Richard Blum, was rushed to hospital last week with an undisclosed condition, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. He would have spent four or five days in intensive care.
Blum, 86, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2016, and Feinstein had to miss the Democratic National Convention because of his treatment plan. He has suffered from a crippling respiratory illness since 2018, according to the Chronicle.
Feinstein, 88, is the oldest sitting senator. She was re-elected for her fifth full term in 2018, even as some Democrats pushed her to step down and open the door for someone younger and more progressive.
With the Senate split 50-50 between the two parties, Feinstein’s vote this week is crucial as Democrats once again attempt to fund the government and pass President Joe Biden’s ambitious infrastructure package. The senator’s absence has so far cost her party no legislative victory.
Colby Bermel contributed to this report.