Sen. Dianne Feinstein Dies At 90
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 6: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) attends a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on judicial nominations on Capitol Hill September 6, 2023 in Washington, DC. During the hearing the committee considered five judges for federal vacancies.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) died Thursday night at the age of 90, her office confirmed.

Feinstein, who represented California in the Senate since 1992, was the oldest member of the Senate and said earlier this year that she planned to retire at the end of her term as she battled health issues and faced calls for her resignation. The California Democrat was at the Capitol on Wednesday where she cast a vote just before noon. She later missed two votes that took place Wednesday afternoon, according to Fox News.

“Sadly, Senator Feinstein passed away last night at her home in Washington, D.C.,” her office said in a statement Friday morning. “Her passing is a great loss for so many, from those who loved and cared for her to the people of California that she dedicated her life to serving.”

Feinstein battled the shingles virus earlier this year, missing work on Capitol Hill for 10 weeks. The senator was then briefly hospitalized last month after a fall. During her final months in the Senate, Feinstein was pushed around the Capitol in a wheelchair and appeared to be confused at times about where she was and what she was supposed to do as she read a speech during a vote. The senator also appeared to have no recollection of her recent — and lengthy — absence from Washington, D.C., telling a reporter she had been “here, voting.”

After an April 2022 article in the San Francisco Chronicle reported several of her political colleagues thought her mentally unfit to serve, Feinstein retorted in a statement, “I remain committed to do what I said I would when I was re-elected in 2018: fight for Californians, especially on the economy and the key issues for California of water and fire. 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.”

Throughout Feinstein’s political career, she made her mark as a staunch gun-control advocate. In 1984, as mayor of San Francisco, Feinstein proposed banning handguns in San Francisco; she authored the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban.

In 2003, she voted against a proposal to ban partial-birth abortion. After Roe v. Wade was overturned, she supported lifting the Senate filibuster rule to permit legislation protecting abortion rights. Feinstein also opposed President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; in 2022, she sponsored the Respect for Marriage Act, which required the federal government and all state governments to recognize same-sex marriages.

Feinstein was praised by President Joe Biden, who served alongside her in the Senate, after she announced in February that should would retire at the end of her term.

“I’ve served with more U.S. Senators than just about anyone,” Biden said in a statement. “I can honestly say that Dianne Feinstein is one of the very best.”

Hank Berrien contributed to this report. 

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