The mounting pressure for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who’ll be 90 next month, to resign is not to be underestimated. It extends beyond progressive circles and even reaches those who have long admired her in the Senate.
Her situation serves as a cautionary tale, showcasing how a legacy can be tarnished and how leadership should not be handled. Instead of leaving a positive and purposeful imprint, Feinstein and her office have veered towards missteps and have chosen to disregard the well-intentioned advice that has been directed at them for years.
But, is Feinstein getting encouragement from another congressional powerbroker?
Feinstein was hospitalized with shingles in February and recently returned to the Senate after a three-month absence. When asked about her absence, she seemed unaware and insisted she had been present and voting. Although Feinstein is not seeking reelection in 2024, she has resisted calls to resign.
For the last several years, Feinstein’s level of cognition has been a concern on the Hill, and the Senator’s awareness is apparently noticeably worse now than when she took a leave of absence earlier this year.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi has reportedly assigned her daughter, Nancy Carinne Prowda, to stay close to Feinstein in Congress. This move has raised questions about whether Pelosi’s political interests are conflicting with Feinstein’s personal interests.
The situation revolves around the future of Feinstein’s seat, with Pelosi endorsing Rep. Adam Schiff as her successor. Schiff, a well-known figure in California politics, already has a significant campaign cash advantage.
However, if Feinstein were to retire early, Schiff’s advantage could diminish, as Gov. Gavin Newsom has pledged to appoint a Black woman to serve out Feinstein’s term. Rep. Barbara Lee is one of Schiff’s opponents who could potentially fit the bill.
And although the seat will be available in 2024 regardless, it wouldn’t be a good look for Schiff to challenge an incumbent Democrat. And second, an incumbent usually has a strong advantage over their primary challengers.
The arrangement between Pelosi, Prowda, and Feinstein has been kept under wraps, according to Politico. A spokesperson for Pelosi denied any inappropriate actions, stating that Feinstein’s service in the Senate is entirely her own decision.
It is unclear whether Prowda is living with the senator, as neither Feinstein’s nor Pelosi’s office responded to questions on the matter.
Schiff, 62, represents California’s 30th congressional district, which is centered in the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles and includes Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, West Hollywood, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Hollywood, Sunland-Tujunga, Edendale, Park La Brea, Hancock Park, and Echo Park. He is a candidate for the United States Senate in the 2024 election to succeed Dianne Feinstein.
Schiff chaired the House Intelligence Committee from 2019 to 2023 and was removed from it by Speaker Kevin McCarthy in 2023. He is on leave from the House Appropriations Committee, which he joined in 2007. He also previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Since 2016, Schiff has been one of the more outspoken, high-profile House Members.