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Tags: dianne feinstein | health concerns | mitch mcconnell | vote | statement | frail

Sen. Feinstein Confused at Hearing, Told to Vote Aye

By    |   Thursday, 27 July 2023 07:47 PM EDT

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., 90, the oldest lawmaker in Congress, mistakenly started to read a statement Thursday when it was time for a routine vote and had to be corrected by an aide and colleague.

During a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, Feinstein was supposed to cast a vote on a defense funding bill, saying either "aye" or "nay" after her name was called. She was prompted multiple times to vote, but she started reading prepared remarks supporting the legislation.

"I would like to provide a yes vote on this," she said. "It provides $823 billion, that's an increase of $26 billion for the Department of Defense, and it funds priorities submitted …"

Feinstein was interrupted by a male aide, who whispered something to her. Committee chair Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who was seated to Feinstein's left, said to her, "Just say aye."

"OK," Feinstein said, looking at Murray. "Just … aye."

Feinstein has been in frail health since returning to the Senate in May after taking a health hiatus reportedly because of shingles, encephalitis — swelling of the brain — and Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. Upon her return, it was reported that aides had to tell her how and when to vote. Many Democrats have asked her to step down from her seat, but she has said she will finish out her term and not seek reelection in 2024.

Feinstein's struggles came a day after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., appeared to freeze up at the lectern for about 20 seconds during a news conference Wednesday. McConnell, 81, was escorted away from the lectern by an aide and Sen. John  Barrasso, R-Wy., and returned a short time later, saying he was fine.

McConnell was on a health hiatus earlier this year when he suffered a concussion and fractured rib during a fall.

Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., 53, also missed time earlier this year after being hospitalized for clinical depression. Fetterman suffered a stroke while campaigning last year.

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U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., 90, the oldest lawmaker in Congress, mistakenly started to read a statement Thursday when it was time for a routine vote and had to be corrected by an aide and colleague.
dianne feinstein, health concerns, mitch mcconnell, vote, statement, frail
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2023-47-27
Thursday, 27 July 2023 07:47 PM
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