A confused Dianne Feinstein tried to give a speech in the middle of a Senate hearing vote and was told to 'just say aye' instead

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California at the Capitol on April 26, 2022.
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  • A top Senate Democrat pleaded with Sen. Dianne Feinstein during an awkward moment.

  • Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Patty Murray told her colleague to "just say aye."

  • Feinstein appeared to be launching into a lengthy speech during a time when senators were just supposed to vote.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Thursday appeared confused and attempted to deliver a longer speech during a Senate hearing, the latest in a string of episodes that have raised further questions about her ability to continue serving in office.

"Just say aye," Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Patty Murray repeatedly pleaded with her colleague.

Instead of a short reply, Feinstein began her response by saying, "I would like to support a yes vote on this, it provides $823 billion ...." As the California Democrat continued to speak, an aide also intervened to try to remind the lawmaker that this was not the time for speeches.

"OK," Feinstein then said as Murray reminded her one final time to "just say aye." "Aye," she finally said.

A Feinstein spokesperson later said that the senator was confused during a "chaotic" hearing.

"The senator was preoccupied, didn't realize debate had just ended and a vote was called. She started to give a statement, was informed it was a vote and then cast her vote," Feinstein's spokesperson said in a statement.

Video of the hearing is available here. Both Murray and Sen. Susan Collins, the top Republican on the panel, had spoken about the proposal before Murray called for a vote. A clerk then began reading off the names, starting with Feinstein's.

The entire exchange lasted less than a minute but it comes as concerns remain on Capitol Hill about Feinstein's ability to adequately serve in office. The California Democrat is 90 years old, making her the oldest senator. She missed months of votes earlier this year, leading to delays in advancing President Joe Biden's judicial nominees.

The Senate Appropriations Committee was considering legislation that would provide hundreds of billions of dollars for the Pentagon, the EPA, and other major federal departments and agencies. The panel's purse-string power makes it highly desirable but senior members have a better chance of securing a seat on the committee.

In recent weeks, Feinstein voted in favor of a Republican-led amendment during a different Senate hearing before being corrected. Insider Reporter Bryan Metzger also observed Feinstein asking her chief of staff "Where are we going?" as she was wheeled into an elevator.


Feinstein previously announced that she would not seek reelection. She has remained steadfast in continuing to serve, even as some California Democrats publicly call for her to step down.

Representatives for both Murray and Feinstein did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider