Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) says he will move a resolution this week to temporarily replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on the Judiciary Committee to keep President Biden’s judicial nominees moving to the floor.
Schumer said he hopes Republicans will support the resolution to fill Feinstein’s seat on the committee while the 89-year-old California senator recovers from a bout of shingles.
“I’d like to do it sometime this week,” he said.
Schumer said he spoke with Feinstein a couple of days ago and told reporters that she expects to be back at the Capitol “soon” but didn’t set any definitive date of return.
“I spoke to Sen. Feinstein just a few days ago. She believes she will return soon. She’s very hopeful of that and so am I,” he said at a Monday press conference. “We think the Republicans should allow a temporary replacement until she returns.”
Schumer said he would have to talk with members of his caucus to figure out who would be a good choice to fill in for Feinstein during her absence. She was diagnosed with shingles, a painful rash caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox, in February.
“We should have a temporary replacement until she [returns] and we hope Republicans will join us in that,” Schumer said when asked whether he’s confident at least nine Republicans would vote for a resolution to replace Feinstein on the Judiciary panel.
“It’s the only right and fair thing to do. That’s the correct thing to do and we hope they will do it,” he added.
Schumer said he plans to discuss the issue with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is back in the Capitol Monday after a five-week absence because of a concussion he suffered last month.
Democrats need to muster 60 votes to fill Feinstein’s seat on the committee because at least one Republican, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), has already said she will block any request for unanimous consent to seat another Democrat on the panel.
“I will not go along with Chuck Schumer’s plan to replace Sen. Feinstein on the Judiciary Committee and pack the court with activist judges,” Blackburn announced in a tweet Monday.
The Judiciary Committee is deadlocked 10-10 because of Feinstein’s absence, which gives Republicans leverage to block Biden’s more controversial nominees.
With full attendance, Democrats would control an 11-10 majority on the committee.