In a report by NBC News, it was confirmed on Friday morning that Senator Dianne Feinstein, a prominent Democratic figure who represented California in the U.S. Senate since 1992, has passed away at the age of 90. Feinstein, known as the oldest serving member of the Senate, had previously announced her intention to retire at the conclusion of her term due to health issues and calls for her resignation.
On Wednesday, Senator Feinstein was present at the Capitol, casting her vote earlier in the day but subsequently missing two votes later in the afternoon, as reported by Fox News. Earlier in the year, Feinstein had faced health challenges, including battling the shingles virus which led to her absence from Capitol Hill for 10 weeks. She was also briefly hospitalized following a fall last month.
In her final months as a Senator, Feinstein was seen navigating the Capitol in a wheelchair and occasionally exhibited signs of confusion regarding her surroundings and tasks. During a voting session, she appeared to have no recollection of her extended absence from Washington, responding to a reporter that she had been consistently present.
After a San Francisco Chronicle article in April 2022 raised concerns about her fitness to serve, Feinstein responded with a statement, reaffirming her commitment to representing Californians and highlighting her focus on key issues such as the economy, water, and fire.
Throughout her extensive political career, Senator Feinstein made a significant impact as a dedicated advocate for gun control, proposing a handgun ban as mayor of San Francisco in 1984 and authoring the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban. She also notably voted against a partial-birth abortion ban in 2003 and supported measures to protect abortion rights following the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Feinstein opposed President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and sponsored the Respect for Marriage Act in 2022, which aimed to require recognition of same-sex marriages by the federal and state governments.
President Joe Biden, who had served alongside Feinstein in the Senate, praised her in February when she announced her retirement plans, describing her as “one of the very best” among the U.S. Senators he had worked with.