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US Senator Dianne Feinstein Relies Heavily on Her Aides, Media Reports

© AFP 2023 / JIM WATSONUS Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) speaks with an aide as she arrives for a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on May 11, 2023.
US Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) speaks with an aide as she arrives for a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on May 11, 2023. - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.05.2023
Senator Dianne Feinstein's reliance on aides has come under scrutiny as concerns grow about her ability to fulfill her duties due to her age, frail health, and memory issues.
The 89-year-old California Democrat, accompanied by a phalanx of aides, had to be settled into her seat during a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. She appeared to read from a piece of paper handed to her by an aide and received whispered guidance throughout the proceedings. Aides help her with tasks like pushing her wheelchair, reminding her how and when to vote, and explaining the Senate proceedings when she grows confused, reports US media.
While all senators rely on staff support, Feinstein's memory problems require far more assistance than most. Briefing her on current events takes longer sessions and more background information.
In this image from video, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., speaks on the Senate floor about the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.05.2023
Majority of Californians Believe Feinstein Cannot Carry Out Duties Due to Health Issues
There have been instances of her expressing confusion about Senate procedures, such as asking why Vice President Kamala Harris was present during a tiebreaking vote. Since her return to work on a limited schedule due to shingles and complications, her staff ensures she is never alone and is heavily protected, even shielding her from photographers and reporters.
Feinstein's aides, many of whom have worked with her for decades, face the challenge of balancing their roles as public servants with their responsibilities to a diminished lawmaker. Critics on the left have criticized the staff for enabling her to remain in office despite calls for her resignation.
However, the staff continues to work to maintain the efficiency of her office by relying on the systems and policies she established over her three decades in office. They use color-coded folders, a format for vote recommendations, and a vast library of responses to constituents' correspondence.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is flanked by aides as she returns to the Senate Judiciary Committee following a more than two-month absence - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.05.2023
'I Haven't Been Gone': Feinstein Appears to Forget Her Near 3-Month Senate Absence
Although some key staff members have departed, many senior policy staff members remain loyal to Feinstein and are dedicated to their areas of expertise. They continue their work by communicating with the senator through phone calls, memos, and even faxes. Despite missing votes and not participating in committee hearings or lunches, there is a sense among her staff that the office needs to keep functioning, as the Senate can still operate effectively.
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