Schumer wants Cardin for Feinstein substitute on Judiciary Committee

Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks to reporters at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol Building on April 17, in Washington, D.C. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he would try to hold a vote Tuesday afternoon to temporarily replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) with Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The big picture: Senate Republicans will almost certainly block the measure to temporarily replace Feinstein, whose absence after being hospitalized with shingles has stalled Democrats’ efforts to advance judicial nominees.

  • Schumer’s choice of Cardin doesn’t change the calculus for Republicans, according to a senior GOP aide, who told Axios, "That ship has sailed."

Driving the news: Schumer did not answer when asked Tuesday whether Feinstein should consider resigning if she does not return by May.

  • "I spoke to Sen. Feinstein just a few days ago and she and I are both very hopeful that she will return very soon," Schumer said before announcing Cardin would be his top pick.

What we're hearing: Schumer will try to get unanimous consent to swap the two senators at 4:30 pm, according to a Senate aide.

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is expected to block the move, meaning Schumer will have to put it to a full floor vote.

Zoom out: More than a half dozen Senate Republicans, including members of leadership, told Axios on Monday that they would oppose Schumer's effort to temporarily substitute Feinstein.

  • Some Republicans signaled more openness to filling Feinstein's seat if she were to resign altogether.
  • Feinstein, 89, has faced pressure from her own party to resign from the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Democrats cannot advance judicial nominees who do not have Republican support.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional developments.

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