The senator’s diagnosis, according to three people who have recently visited her or received updates on her condition, seems to have hit them hard. Additional confidants, including two who have spoken to or seen the senator, emphasized that they still believe she will be able to complete the nearly two years of her term.

However, none of those individuals—who spoke on the condition of anonymity—said they were certain they could do so from Washington.

In fact, advisors and confidants aren’t yet able to provide a concrete timetable for their entrance back into the chamber, where Democrats are desperately in need of their voice. Adam Russell, Feinstein’s own spokesman, stated that there had been no change to the anticipated date of her return to Washington, although

While her illness has kept Feinstein from voting on the judiciary panel to approve Biden’s nominee for the federal bench, effectively delaying those approvals for now, the same is being felt in the Senate. The California Democrat has missed nearly 60 votes since her shingles diagnosis in mid-February.

That long absence has strained the 51-49 majority of Democrats in the chamber, with Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) also absent for weeks while he was treating himself for depression.

Feinstein attends a secret briefing at the US Capitol on February 9, 2023. | Francis Chung/Politics

Vice President Kamala Harris has cut several ties to confirm the court nominations on the floor, but committee action has been postponed because of several nominations made in her absence. There are currently 14 pending judge candidates who have had hearings but have not received a vote on the committee.