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U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein Passes Away at the Age of 90

by Riley Cook

US Senator Dianne Feinstein, a long-serving Democrat from California, has passed away at the age of 90, marking the end of an era in American politics. The news of her death comes after a series of health concerns, and her retirement plans had been previously announced.

Image Credit: Drew Angerer / Staff / Getty Images

Feinstein, the oldest member of the Senate, had declared her intention to retire at the conclusion of her current term. Her passing was initially reported by ABC7 Insider, and NBC News later confirmed the news, citing reliable sources.

While her exact cause of death has not yet been officially confirmed, Senator Feinstein had faced increasing scrutiny in recent years regarding her health. In August, she was hospitalized following a minor fall in her hometown of San Francisco. Her office had reported at the time that the hospital visit was a precautionary measure and that all scans had shown no serious injuries.

Feinstein's fall, however, added to concerns about her ability to carry out her duties. Prior to that incident, she had already been absent from the Senate for three months due to a battle with shingles. During this time, she missed numerous crucial votes, and some progressives criticized her for impeding the confirmation of President Biden's judicial nominees through the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In February, Senator Feinstein announced her decision to retire from office, drawing praise from President Biden. He lauded her as "a passionate defender of civil liberties and a strong voice for national security policies that keep us safe while honoring our values." In his statement, Biden expressed his deep respect for Feinstein, emphasizing that she was among the finest senators he had served alongside.

Feinstein had built a distinguished career in Congress, advocating prominently for gun control. She consistently pushed for more stringent measures, especially after the expiration of the assault weapons ban in 2004. Additionally, she chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee and led a comprehensive investigation into the CIA's detention and interrogation methods following the 9/11 attacks. This inquiry led to legislative measures prohibiting the use of torture.

Throughout her tenure, Feinstein was known for her willingness to work across the aisle with Republicans, sometimes at odds with the more progressive wing of her own party. She opposed single-payer, government-run healthcare and voiced her reservations about the Green New Deal, which she regarded as impractical both politically and financially.

Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Staff / Getty Images

One particularly contentious moment occurred when she hugged Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham during the confirmation hearings for then-Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett in October 2020.

This gesture drew calls from some quarters for her to step down as the ranking member of the committee. Eventually, she yielded to the pressure and announced her intention to step down in November 2020, with plans to focus on addressing climate change and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Dianne Feinstein's passing marks the end of a political career characterized by dedication, pragmatism, and a commitment to her principles. Her legacy, shaped over many decades in the Senate, leaves a lasting impact on American politics.


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