Senator Dianne Feinstein was the longest-serving female senator. Photo: Alex Wong
Dianne Feinstein, the oldest member of the Senate, has died at the age of 90.
The California Democrat, the longest-serving female senator, announced in February that she planned to retire at the end of her term. She has faced calls for her resignation over concerns about her health.
President Joe Biden called Ms. Feinstein, who died Thursday night after 30 years in the Senate, a “pioneering American.” A true pioneer. And for Jill and me, he is a treasured friend.”
He said: “Having served together in the Senate for over 15 years, I have had a front row seat to what Dianne was able to achieve… She made history in so many ways and our country will benefit from her legacy for generations to come.
Mr Biden added: “Dianne was tough, sharp, always prepared and never pulled a punch, but she was also a kind and loyal friend, and that is what Jill and I will miss most.” ” p>
“As we mourn with her daughter Katherine and the Feinstein family, her Senate team and the people of California, we take comfort in knowing that Dianne is once again reunited with her beloved Richard. God bless Dianne Feinstein.”
She has faced calls for her resignation due to concerns about her health. Photo: J. Scott. Applewhite
Ms. Feinstein was the first woman president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the first woman to become the city's mayor.
After being hospitalized with shingles in February, she suffered a series of health problems and was absent from the Senate for several months. She had multiple complications, including Ramsay Hunt syndrome and encephalitis.
The gun control advocate appeared confused at times, unsure how long she had been out or what her diagnosis was.
During a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing in late July, Ms. Feinstein had to vote yes.
Ms. Feinstein has advocated for gun control. Photo: J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE
Governor Gavin Newsom has the authority to appoint a replacement to serve for the remainder of Ms. Feinstein's term, maintaining a Democratic majority in the House until January 2025.
Mr. Newsom said in March 2021 that he had a list of “multiple” replacements and promised to appoint a black woman if Ms. Feinstein were to resign.
Democrats could have problems given the vacant chair of the Judiciary committee, where with her absence the party lost its majority.
If Republicans object to giving her a replacement committee seat, Biden will be unable to make nominations—for example, to the Supreme Court—without bipartisan support.
Earlier this year, the GOP objected opposed Ms. Feinstein's temporary replacement on the committee while she was ill, which delayed the approval of several of Mr. Biden's appointments to federal judges and leadership positions.