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Reporter’s Notebook: Dianne Feinstein and the debate over lawmakers’ fitness to serve

Reporter’s Notebook: Dianne Feinstein and the debate over lawmakers’ fitness to serve
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Reporter’s Notebook: Dianne Feinstein and the debate over lawmakers’ fitness to serve

Reporter’s Notebook: Dianne Feinstein and the debate over lawmakers’ fitness to serve

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It says your age should be calculated by friends, not years – which brings us to 88-year-old Sen. Diane Feinstein, de-Caliph.

Washington has been speculating for weeks whether Feinstein, the oldest lawmaker in the House or Senate, will be in office. Recent reports have shown that Feinstein is not “up to the job” at his age and has lost his fastball. There are rumors that he is easily confused and may suffer from memory problems.

Let’s be clear: we don’t really know what Feinstein is like. This is something that is only known to Feinstein, his physicians, some family members, a few friends, fellow senators or even close associates.

Schumer said he was discussing with Feinstein his ability to provide personal services

It would not be right to ask such questions about Feinstein. Whatever the case, there are speculations about Feinstein’s health.

There is virtually no suggestion that members of the House Democratic leadership have lost a step. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., 82 House Majority Leader Stanley Hoyer, D-Mo., Will turn 83 next month By comparison, House Majority Whip Jim Cliburn, DSC, a Spree 81. Feinstein became the oldest member of Congress when the late Republican Don Young, R. Alaska, died in March at the age of 88. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, also 88, but a few months younger than Feinstein.

Sen., a ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Diane Feinstein speaking at a news conference in October 2020.

Sen., a ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Diane Feinstein speaking at a news conference in October 2020.
(Ap, file)

There are always rumors from young politicians who aspire to matriculate in leadership or chairman committees, jumping on more senior lawmakers who have been in office for decades. All of these figures have certainly angered junior lawmakers. But no one has effective questions about their fitness.

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Pelosi, for example, traveled to Kiev for a private meeting with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

However, various anonymous sources have certainly raised health questions about Feinstein.

Diane Feinstein defends job performance, denies interview with San Francisco Chronicle

This is the first time anyone has expressed concern about a lawmaker who is thought to have been held for too long.

A great example of this was the late Sen. Strom Thermond, R.S.C. Tharmond served in the Senate for 48 years before retiring in 2003 at the age of 100. Tharmond was the oldest member of both organizations. He is the only lawmaker in American history who has ever reached the mark of the century and is still in office. Thurmond died a few months after his retirement. Consider this about Tharmond’s political longevity: Tharmond opposed civil rights and ran for president of the State Rights Party in 1948 against President Harry Truman. Tharmond carried four states and collected 39 electoral votes.

Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sense Storm Thermond and Ted Kennedy, October 6, 1987.

Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sense Storm Thermond and Ted Kennedy, October 6, 1987.
(AP Photo / John Durica, file)

For those who served in the Senate or covered Congress in the early 1990’s and early 2000’s, it was clear that Thurmond had fallen. As pro-tempo president of the Senate, Tharmond will preside over the inaugural session of the Senate and will struggle to see his fellow senators seek recognition for speaking on the floor. He resigned from the Armed Services Committee in 1999. But many in the public eye closely watched Thermond as a ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee during the disgusting confirmation hearing for Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991. Thermond Sense ready for prime-time to follow Thomas’ most controversial and visible questions. Orin Hatch, R-Uta, Arlene Specter, R-Pa. And Alan Simpson, R.Y.O. Accused Anita Hill.

The late Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., Died in early 2007 after retiring from the Senate in 2014. Doctors diagnosed Jeffords in 2008 with Alzheimer’s disease. But there has been a lot of quiet talk on Capitol Hill about Jeffords’ health and whether he was. Struggling in his last years in the Senate. Vermont reporters have complained about the sudden lack of access. An assistant suddenly appeared around Jefford, began to vote for him and come to the floor. The assistant often intervened when reporters tried to question Jeffords. And in one instance, reporters are even walking around the House Wing of the Capitol, a seemingly confused Jeffords, thinking he has to go to the polls. Jeffords worked at the House from 1975 to 1989.

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Members of the GOP House are considering limiting the term of the committee leaders in the report

The late Sen. Thad Kochran, R-Miss, has often lost his way in his last years in the Senate. Assistants often accompanied Kochran around Senate Hallway as he became more vulnerable. However, Kochran continues to chair the Senate Appropriations Committee. Kochran told reporters “don’t believe what you’re hearing,” when asked if he would retire. A weak coachman was sitting on the floor, a colleague next to him, occasionally asking him to vote. On one occasion, despite a no-vote suggestion, Kochran shouted “yes” during the roll call vote. Kochran announced his retirement in early 2018. He died a year later.

Capitol Hill has seen the fall of Sen. Robert Bird, DWV, over the years. Bird resigned as majority leader in the late 1980’s to focus on the stewardship of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Bird was in the Senate for another two decades. Byrd is the longest-serving senator in U.S. history: 51 years. In 2008, Baird was acting chairman of the Senate, the third in a row. But Bird’s deteriorating health has raised questions about whether he should continue to work at that capacity – especially after a long hospital stay. Bird returns to the Senate and drives around the Senate mostly in a wheelchair. He died in 2010.

William Nature, chairman of the late House Appropriations Committee, fell ill in early 1994. Nature cast 18,401 consecutive votes in the House over a 40-year career. In fact, when Nature suffered a heart attack in 1994, the House canceled the vote for one day to keep Nature’s streak intact. A few days later, the medical professionals danced in the hospital’s gurney to cast their votes. He voted from there and died the next day.

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So, what should the public do if a legislator misses a step or suffers from scattered memory problems?

Not much. The only recourse is the ballot box.

The constitution is clear. Article I, Article 2 of the Constitution prescribes the only eligibility for House members as a 25-year-old, a seven-year citizen and compulsory state residence. For the Senate, it is 30 years old, a citizen for nine years and a resident of the state they want to represent.

Of course, this raises the question of a possible failure. Or whether lawmakers should “do the right thing” and resign if they are not as quick as before.

But it is up to the legislators to decide. Ambitious politicians who want to climb the ladder will surely ridicule the mental acuity and tolerance of some older lawmakers.

California is the largest state. Feinstein served in the Senate for nearly 30 years. There is not much room for improvement. That may not be fair to Feinstein. But that’s why news, speculation, and invendo about an older legislator, who may not be as outspoken as before, began to emerge.

That’s why senior lawmakers should probably count their age by friends, not years.

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