After her husband’s hospitalization, Sen. Dianne Feinstein is on her way back to Washington before the federal funding deadline on Thursday, Sept. 30.
The California Democrat’s reappearance comes just days before the Sept. 30 federal funding expiration.
She skipped a vote on Monday to suspend the federal debt ceiling and avoid a government shutdown if a new spending package is not approved as soon as Friday, Oct. 1, according to the Sfgate.
Feinstein last voted on Sept. 14, just before the Senate went into recess for a few days. Since the chamber reopened on Sept. 20, she has had to miss every vote.
According to a local outlet, her husband, investment banker Richard Blum, was hospitalized last week. He was said to have been in intensive care for four or five days and is now resting at home.
The bill was blocked by Republicans on Monday, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said his party would force Democrats to increase the debt ceiling unilaterally through budget reconciliation, which takes only 50 votes rather than 60.
Republicans will support a spending plan without the debt component before the deadline on Friday, McConnell stated. In mid-October, the country is expected to reach its debt limit.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebr.) was also absent from the vote, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer shifted his vote from “yes” to “no” to preserve the bill’s procedural ability to be brought back to the floor.
A $3.5 trillion “soft infrastructure” package, essential to President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda, may be considered by the Senate soon in addition to funding the government and lifting the debt ceiling.
The House has yet to approve a bipartisan $1 trillion bill to fund highways, broadband, and other “hard infrastructure” projects the Senate has already approved.
This week, Feinstein’s vote is critical as Democrats strive to finance the government and enact President Joe Biden’s infrastructure program with the Senate split 50-50. However, the California Senator’s absence has not been at the cost of any legislative victories for her party thus far, according to Politico.
88-years-old Feinstein is the oldest senator in the United States. In 2018, she was re-elected to a full five–year term.