Sen. Dianne Feinstein is headed back to Washington on Tuesday evening after spending a week away in San Francisco while her husband was hospitalized.
The California Democrat’s return comes as Congress continues to look for a solution for keeping the government open and raising the debt limit ahead of Thursday’s federal funding deadline. Republicans blocked Democratic efforts on Monday — a vote Feinstein missed.
“Senator Feinstein is returning to Washington this evening after staying in San Francisco while her husband was hospitalized,” a Feinstein spokesperson said in a statement to POLITICO. “Her husband is now recovering at home.”
The Hill was the first to note Feinstein’s absence on Monday. A spokesperson said it was a “family medical emergency,” adding that the senator would have voted with Democrats on Monday.
“The senator is carefully following the vote situation in the Senate and will return to Washington as soon as possible,” Hill reporter Jordain Carney tweeted on Monday, relaying a message from Feinstein’s team.
Feinstein voted last on Sept. 14, before the Senate took several days off. She has missed all votes since the chamber reconvened on Sept. 20.
Her husband, investment banker Richard Blum, was taken to the hospital last week with an undisclosed condition, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. He was reported to have spent four or five days in intensive care.
Blum, 86, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2016, and Feinstein had to miss the Democratic National Convention because of his treatment plan. He’s had a crippling respiratory condition since 2018, according to the Chronicle.
Feinstein, 88, is the oldest sitting senator. She was reelected to her full fifth term in 2018, even as some Democrats have pushed for her to step aside and open the door for someone younger and more progressive.
With the Senate split 50-50 between the two parties, Feinstein’s vote this week is crucial as Democrats again try to fund the government and pass President Joe Biden’s ambitious infrastructure package. The senator’s absence has so far not cost her party any legislative wins.
Colby Bermel contributed to this report.