The Senate GOP blocked Democrats' last-ditch effort to replace ailing Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Daily Wire reported. Without Feinstein or a replacement, Democrats can't get their judges approved.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was hoping Republicans would bend to his party's will and allow Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) as a substitute for the 89-year-old. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) flatly rejected his proposal Tuesday that would require 10 Republicans to join the effort.
McConnell said his party "will not take part in sidelining a temporary absent colleague off a committee just so Democrats can force through their very worst nominees." Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) chastised the opportunistic Democrats.
"She’s a dear friend and we hope for her speedy recovery and return back to the Senate," Graham said. "With all due respect, my colleague, Sen. Schumer, this is about a handful of judges that you can’t get the votes for," he pointed out.
Schumer would need 60 Senators to advance the matter of replacing Feinstein. That's a tall order considering the razor-thin majority Democrats hold in the upper chamber, but it's an act of desperation.
Feinstein announced last month that she had been admitted to a San Francisco hospital for a serious case of shingles. Schumer said Tuesday that he "spoke to Sen. Feinstein just a few days ago, and she and I are both very hopeful that she will return very soon."
However, even if she returns in the short term, Feinstein has already announced that she will not run again in 2024. House Democrats Reps. Katie Porter, Adam Schiff, and Barbara Lee are ready to run in her place when the time comes.
In the meantime, other Democratic colleagues are losing patience with Feinstein. Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) lamented that the Judiciary Committee is unable to break the 10-10 tie between Democrats and Republicans without her vote.
"I can’t consider nominees in these circumstances because a tie vote is a losing vote in committee," Durbin said. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) has flat-out called for Feinstein to resign after she failed to return to her seat as promised last month.
"It’s time for @SenFeinstein to resign," Khanna tweeted last week. "We need to put the country ahead of personal loyalty," the California Democrat added.
"While she has had a lifetime of public service, it is obvious she can no longer fulfill her duties. Not speaking out undermines our credibility as elected representatives of the people," Khanna pointed out.
Democrats' sense of urgency comes from the bottleneck Feinstein's absence has created in Biden's judicial appointments. The Senate has already confirmed 100 of his picks as Biden worked at breakneck speed to get them pushed through until Feinstein's absence.
Besides the judges, Feinstein's absence could influence a potential hearing against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for failing to disclose expensive trips and gifts from a donor. Without a clear majority, a subpoena to Thomas is "out of the question."
The government is full of elderly individuals who are intent on holding onto power until they die. This has once again put the Democrats in a precarious political position.