Updated May 10, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Feinstein says doctors have advised "lighter schedule"

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D--NY) greets Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) as she returns to the U.S. Capitol Building on May 10, 2023 in Washington, DC.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) greets Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on her return to the U.S. Capitol on May 10. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Wednesday her doctors have advised her to work a "lighter schedule" as she returns to the Senate due to continued side effects from shingles.

Why it matters: The statement came a day after Feinstein flew back to Washington, D.C. following a prolonged absence.

  • Feinstein later Wednesday cast her first vote since returning to the chamber. She had been absent earlier that day during floor votes.

What she's saying: “I have returned to Washington and am prepared to resume my duties in the Senate," Feinstein said in a statement. "I also look forward to resuming my work on the Judiciary Committee considering the president’s judicial nominees."

  • However, she added, “Even though I’ve made significant progress and was able to return to Washington, I’m still experiencing some side effects from the shingles virus."
  • Feinstein said her doctors have advised her to work a "lighter schedule," and she added, "I’m hopeful those issues will subside as I continue to recover."

The backdrop: Feinstein has been absent from the Senate for more than two months after being hospitalized for shingles in early March.

  • In that time, she missed nearly 100 floor votes and hamstrung the Judiciary Committee's ability to confirm party-line nominees and issue subpoenas.

What we're watching: Feinstein plans to retire when her term ends in 2025, resulting in a hotly contested field of ambitious Democrats vying to replace her.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect Feinstein cast her first vote Wednesday after returning to the Senate.

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