Rep. Ro Khanna calls for Sen. Dianne Feinstein's resignation

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 08: Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) speaks during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on gun violence on Capitol Hill on June 8, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Santa Clara) has called for Sen. Dianne Feinstein's resignation, claiming that she's unable to meet the demands of her job. 

"It’s time for @SenFeinstein to resign," Khanna tweeted. "We need to put the country ahead of personal loyalty. While she has had a lifetime of public service, it is obvious she can no longer fulfill her duties. Not speaking out undermines our credibility as elected representatives of the people."

Khanna double-downed in his call for Feinstein's resignation due to the recent ruling by a federal judge in Texas that halted the FDA's approval of a prescription pill used for abortions. Khanna said that Feinstein's role on the Senate Judiciary Committee is too important to be left in her hands as she grapples with health problems.

"The ruling by an extremist judge in Texas has made it clear that Democrats must act with speed and urgency to confirm judicial nominees who will protect the right to an abortion," Khanna said. "Senator Feinstein is unable to fulfill her duties and for the good of the people, she should resign."

Khanna’s tweet comes after Feinstein announced in February that she would retire in 2024 when her current term expires. Khanna’s tweet also comes after numerous news reports highlighted Feinstein’s recent absences from Senate meetings due to health concerns that have resulted in voting delays for federal judges, a top priority for the Biden Administration. 

SEE ALSO: Feinstein announces she won't seek re-election, leaving door wide open for 2024

Back in March, Feinstein, 89, announced she had contracted shingles and would return to the Senate after recovering at home for a short amount of time. However, she has yet to return and her continued absence at the Capitol has become a source of tension among her colleagues.

"I’m anxious, because I can’t really have a markup of new judge nominees until she’s there," Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee chair, told Politico last month.

US Senator Dianne Feinstein speaks as US Attorney General William Barr prepares to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Russia investigation. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) 

In response to her absence, Feinstein announced today that she has asked Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York) to allow another Democratic senator to fill in for her on the Senate Judiciary Committee until she is able to return to work.

"When I was first diagnosed with shingles, I expected to return by the end of the March work period. Unfortunately, my return to Washington has been delayed due to continued complications related to my diagnosis," Feinstein said in a statement. "I intend to return as soon as possible once my medical team advises that it’s safe for me to travel. In the meantime, I remain committed to the job and will continue to work from home in San Francisco."

Feinstein has also faced claims that she is mentally unfit for the position. In an April 2022 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, multiple anonymous sources told the paper that Feinstein’s memory is deteriorating and one unnamed California congressional member had to introduce themselves multiple times during an hours-long conversation. 

"While I have focused for much of the past year on my husband’s health and ultimate passing, I have remained committed to achieving results and I’d put my record up against anyone’s," Feinstein retorted in 2022.

Khanna is not alone in his calls for Feinstein’s resignation. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) said Feinstein’s contributions have been "immeasurable," but it’s a "dereliction of duty to remain in the Senate and a dereliction of duty for those who agree to remain quiet," Phillips tweeted.

Speaking at an event in San Francisco on Wednesday, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi weighed in, calling Feinstein a champion for California. She added that she's seen firsthand, her "great leadership" over the years. 

"She deserves that respect to…to get well and be back on duty. And just…it's…it's interesting to me, I don't know what political agendas are at work that are going after Senator Feinstein in that way. I've never seen them go after a man who was sick in the Senate in that way," said Pelosi. 

SEE ALSO: Sen. Feinstein hospitalized with shingles

Khanna is backing Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) in her bid for Feinstein's soon-to-be vacant seat, after months of speculation that Khanna himself was going to run for the position.