Patty Murray Urges Befuddled Dianne Feinstein to Say ‘Aye’ During Vote


Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) appeared confused and began speaking during a Senate Appropriations Committee vote on Thursday, prompting Chair Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) to repeatedly urge the 90-year-old to say “aye.”

After Murray called for a vote on the Defense Appropriations bill, the clerk called on Feinstein, who had the choice of saying “aye” or “no.” After an aide handed her a piece of paper, Murray told Feinstein, “Say aye.” 

“Pardon me?” replied Feinstein, who in May returned to the Senate after a two-month health-related absence and told reporters, “I haven’t been gone,” when asked about well wishes she had received. 

“I would like to support a yes vote on this,” Feinstein continued, despite Murray’s attempts to help. “It provides $823 billion, that’s an increase of $26 billion for the Department of Defense, and it funds priorities submitted.” 

The aide who handed her the paper suddenly returned to whisper something in the senator’s ear, and Murray again told her to “Just say aye.” 

Feinstein laughed, “Okay. Aye.” 

FILE - Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., speaks during the House Committee on Appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies hearing. Murray faces Republican Tiffany Smiley in the November election. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

The incident comes as Feinstein, who is set to retire at the end of this term, missed more than 90 votes during her time recovering from shingles. Prior to her health complications a few months ago, the New York Times reported that Democrats were struggling to keep her declining mental health under wraps:  

…Ms. Feinstein sometimes struggles to recall the names of colleagues, frequently has little recollection of meetings or telephone conversations, and at times walks around in a state of befuddlement — including about why she is increasingly dogged by questions about whether she is fit to serve in the Senate representing the 40 million residents of California, according to half a dozen lawmakers and aides who spoke about the situation on the condition of anonymity.

Her gaffe on Thursday comes a day after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) inexplicably froze during a press conference. After the alarming event, the 81-year-old retook the podium and later told a reporter he was “fine.”

WATCH — Mitch McConnell Freezes Mid-Speech, Led Away from Podium:



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