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Ailing Dianne Feinstein, 89, suffers from ‘facial paralysis’ and ‘vision impairments’


The state of health of an ill Democratic senator is much worse than expected, according to the media.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that Dianne Feinstein, 89, has been diagnosed with impaired vision and balance and a facial paralysis known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome.

It is a known complication of shingles.

The virus has also caused a previously unreported case of encephalitis which leaves patients with lasting memory or language problems, trouble sleeping, bouts of confusion, mood swings, headaches and difficulty walking.

She is also aided in the upper house of the US Congress by former President Nancy Pelosi’s daughter.

Nancy Corinne Prowda, 58, was spotted alongside Dianne Feinstein, 89, who has just returned from a 10-week sick leave with shingles.

The marketing manager appeared with the outgoing senator after several trusted aides left, amid questions about her suitability for the job.

Feinstein, seen earlier on Thursday, has been flanked by Nancy Pelosi’s daughter in recent weeks. She is already set to retire next year

When asked last week how it felt to be back in the Senate after her three-month battle with shingles, Feinstein oddly said she's been there the whole time.

When asked last week how it felt to be back in the Senate after her three-month battle with shingles, Feinstein oddly said she’s been there the whole time.

A spokesperson for Feinstein said Prowda was not receiving a salary for his role. Feinstein’s office did not respond to a separate inquiry about the senator’s health diagnosis.

Feinstein, a Democrat representing California, was due to step down at the end of her sixth and final term next year.

The legislator is also known to suffer from vision and balance problems, and aides often take her around the Senate building in a wheelchair.

She had faced growing calls to step down during her months away, including from fellow California Democrats and the New York Times editorial board.

But Politico reported Thursday that the Pelosi family is helping to care for the longtime lawmaker to boost the chances of Nancy Pelosi’s preferred successor.

The outlet’s Playbook newsletter said ensuring Feinstein completes his term will help current congressman Adam Schiff win the seat.

Schiff, who as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee probed the now-debunked conspiracy theory that Donald Trump was colluding with Russia, has already raised $15 million for a potential campaign run.

But California Governor Gavin Newsom has pledged to appoint a woman of color if Feinstein retires early.

That would leave the door open for Barbara Lee, a congresswoman representing California, to fill the seat for the remainder of the current term.

California has a jungle primary, which means the top two winners, regardless of party, qualify for the general election.

This would see the heavily Democratic state with two Democrats contest the November 2024 election.

Pelosi, seen here at a protest for more affordable child care, backs Adam Schiff to succeed Dianne Feinstein in the Senate

Pelosi, seen here at a protest for more affordable child care, backs Adam Schiff to succeed Dianne Feinstein in the Senate

Schiff has already raised more than $15 million and is ahead of her closest rival, Katie Porter, in the polls

Schiff has already raised more than $15 million and is ahead of her closest rival, Katie Porter, in the polls

“If (Feinstein) resigns right now, there’s a huge likelihood that Barbara Lee will be nominated – so that makes it harder for Schiff,” Politico quoted a Pelosi family confidant as saying.

The source added that the relationship between Pelosi, her daughter and the senator is “kept under wraps and very, very closely monitored.”

But Pelosi’s office angrily denied the claims, insisting their friendship is “personal and not political”.

“Nancy Corinne and Senator Feinstein have been friends for decades. Nancy Corinne supported her in her shingles recovery,’ the spokesperson said.

Feinstein, a longtime ally of the former speaker of the House of Representatives, has served as a senator from Golden State since 1992 and is the oldest senator in the chamber.

But his cognitive abilities and health have been in question for months after missing a series of key Senate votes.

She also appeared confused in public, sometimes yelling at her aides as she struggled to keep up with votes in the upper house.

His return to work earlier this month also restored Democrats’ 51-49 majority in the Senate, increasing the odds that Democratic-backed bills will be approved.

“My doctors advised me to work a lighter schedule when I return to the Senate,” Feinstein said last month. “Hopefully these issues will subside as I continue my recovery.”

She caused confusion in her first Senate appearance in nearly three months by claiming she had been there all that time.

‘No, I’ve been here. I voted,’ the 89-year-old told reporters when asked how she felt and what her colleagues thought of her comeback. ‘Please. Either you know or you don’t, she added oddly.

She then made her return to the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday, arriving nearly 90 minutes late and after some judicial nominees had already been elected.

She received a standing ovation from Republicans and Democrats on the panel when she joined them after leaving due to health issues.

In an interview upon his return, some prominent Democrats said they were happy to see Feinstein back and did not want to question his role in the Senate.

Hawaii Rep. Ted Lieu joked that Democrats “don’t get in the way of conversations and their doctors” when asked about the octogenarian’s ability to legislate.

“I don’t have a medical degree, so I’m not going to comment on how she feels or what she looks like,” rep Pete Aguilar of California said.

Feinstein’s absence has made it impossible to overtake some of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees.

Indeed, Republicans both refused to support them and refused to allow Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to appoint a temporary replacement for Feinstein on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Biden administration will need all the votes it can get as the United States teeters on a possible default as lawmakers bicker over the amount of the government’s $32 trillion debt ceiling of dollars.

Concerns about Feinstein’s deteriorating mental state were first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle in April last year.

Katie Porter, another Democratic congresswoman from California who is eyeing the 89-year-old Senate seat, told CNN on Thursday that tougher rules were needed to address the issues posed by “crippled” lawmakers.

Katie Porter, another Democratic congresswoman, is also eyeing Feinstein's Senate seat

Katie Porter, another Democratic congresswoman, is also eyeing Feinstein’s Senate seat

“I think change is overdue,” Porter said. “It’s unfortunately not the first time we’ve had this situation where we have real concerns about how the senators are recovering and whether they’re able to come back and really get the job done.”

Senator John Fetterman, whose health problems linked to a stroke and clinical depression have been well documented, took two months off for treatment.

Feinstein has gradually retired from several leadership positions in recent years.

In 2020, she said she would not be the top Democrat on the judicial panel after criticism from liberals over her handling of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation.

Fiercely independent, she has also clashed with the Obama administration for its refusal to keep intelligence reports on the US military’s use of torture secret.

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