(NewsHill.org)- This week, Democrats have been short a majority in the Senate due to a number of temporary absences, making it possible for Republicans to move legislation to the president’s desk and making it more difficult for Democrats to approve of Joe Biden’s recent nominees.
A representative for California Democrat Dianne Feinstein said that she had to leave Washington to attend to a “health concern.” It is currently unknown when she will return to participate in Senate voting. Her office announced that she plans to return to the nation’s capital shortly.
With over two years remaining in her tenure, the 89-year-old senator declared last month that she will not be running for reelection in 2024.
Two other Democrats and one Republican have missed every vote in the Senate this week, highlighting the precarious nature of the Democrats’ 51-49 majority.
With some Democrats absent this week, Democrats have had a theoretical 48-48 majority, forcing Vice President Kamala Harris to cast multiple tiebreaking votes.
One of Biden’s judicial candidates, Margaret Guzman, was approved by the Senate by a slim margin of votes (49 to 48).
On Tuesday, Harris also broke a tie to confirm Araceli Martinez-Olguin as a federal judge for California’s Northern District. The absences of senators may have consequences beyond only judicial nominees.
When asked whether the administration is worried that Democratic senators’ absences may jeopardize the confirmation of Julie Su, Biden’s choice to lead the Labor Department, deputy press secretary Olivia Dalton of the White House refused to comment.
On Wednesday, the Senate voted to repeal a Biden administration regulation that would have let pension funds think about environmental, social, and corporate governance factors when making investments.
The Republicans’ legislative agenda may be more likely to succeed in their absence. Republicans have limited power to bring laws to Biden’s desk while not controlling the upper house since they already employ a legislative instrument that rescinds previously enacted regulations with a simple majority vote in both chambers and the president’s signature.