Dianne Feinstein (D-CA-Senate)

Dianne Feinstein, Biography from Senate.gov

Biography of Senator Dianne Feinstein

As California’s senior Senator, Dianne Feinstein has built a reputation as an independent voice, working with both Democrats and Republicans to find common-sense solutions to the problems facing California and the Nation.

Since her election to the Senate in 1992, Senator Feinstein has worked in a bipartisan way to build a significant record of legislative accomplishments – helping to strengthen the nation’s security both here and abroad, combat crime and violence, battle cancer, and protect natural resources in California and across the country.

In the 111th Congress, Senator Feinstein assumed the Chairmanship of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, where she oversees the nation’s 16 intelligence agencies – the first female Senator to hold that position.

Senator Feinstein is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee, where she chairs the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies. Senator Feinstein also serves on the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, which she chaired during the 110th Congress. In that capacity, Senator Feinstein was the first woman to chair the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, and presided over the Inauguration of President Barack Obama on January 20, 2009.

The following are Senator Feinstein’s committee assignments for the 112th Congress:

Chairman – Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

  • Member – Judiciary Committee
    • Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts
    • Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs
    • Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security
    • Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security
    • Subcommittee on The Constitution
  • Member – Appropriations Committee
    • Chairman: Subcommittee on Energy and Water
    • Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Defense
    • Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
  • Member – Senate Committee on Rules and Administration

In addition to her official committee assignments, Senator Feinstein is a member of several organizations and associations. Among Senator Feinstein’s many affiliations, she serves as Chair of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, Co-Chair of the Senate Cancer Coalition and Co-Chair of the Senate Women’s Caucus on Burma. She is also a member of the Anti-Meth Caucus, the Congressional Dairy Caucus and the Congressional Former Mayors Caucus. She has served as a member of the Aspen Strategy Group since 1997.

Among Senator Feinstein’s many legislative accomplishments:

  • Environment & Natural Resources
    • Fuel Economy StandardsIncreasing fleetwide fuel economy standards for cars, trucks and SUVs by at least 10 miles per gallon over 10 years or from 25 mpg to 35 mpg by Model Year 2020 – the largest increase in more than two decades, and the first Congressional action on global warming.
    • California Desert ProtectionProtecting more than 7 million acres of pristine California desert — the largest such designation in the history of the continental United States.
    • CalfedAuthorizing $395 million for a balanced program to increase California’s water supply, reliability and quality and help restore sensitive water ecosystems.
    • Healthy Forests – Reducing the risk of catastrophic fire in our forests by expediting the thinning of hazardous fuels and providing the first legal protection for old-growth forests in our nation’s history.
    • Lake Tahoe Restoration – Preserving and restoring this treasured natural resource by authorizing $300 million in federal funds over 10 years to match investments by the States of California and Nevada and local authorities.
    • Headwaters Forest Agreement – Obtaining funding and brokering agreement to save the “Headwaters Forest,” a 7,500 acre national treasure and the largest privately held stand of uncut old-growth redwoods.
    • San Francisco Bay Wetlands Restoration – Negotiating public-private purchase of 16,500 acres of salt ponds along the San Francisco Bay – the largest such wetlands restoration project in California history.
  • National Security
    • FISA as the exclusive means for domestic electronic surveillance – Requiring the federal government to follow the requirements of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) when conducting electronic surveillance of American citizens for foreign intelligence purposes.
    • Border Security and Visa Entry Reform – Helping prevent terrorists from entering the United States through loopholes in our immigration system.
    • Criminalization of Border Tunnels – Closed a loophole in federal law by criminalizing the act of constructing or financing a tunnel or subterranean passage across an international border into the United States.
    • Protecting America’s Seaports – Securing our nation’s 361 seaports from terrorism and organized crime through the creation of new criminal offenses.
  • Crime and Justice
    • Crime Victims Rights – Giving victims of violent crime a core set of procedural rights under federal law and ensuring that they have standing to assert their rights before a court.
    • Assault Weapons Ban – Prohibiting the manufacture and sale of 19 types of military-style assault weapons from 1994-2004.
    • Combat Meth Act – Giving law enforcement the tools needed to combat the spread of methamphetamine by restricting the sale of products necessary to cook methamphetamine and authorizing $585 million for enforcement, training, and research into meth treatment.
    • National AMBER Alert Network – Creating nationwide AMBER Alert communications network to help law enforcement find abducted children.
  • Health
    • Phthalate Ban – Protecting children from harmful phthalates chemicals in toys using the precautionary principle.
    • Internet Pharmacies – Banning rogue Internet pharmacies from selling drugs without prescriptions.
    • Breast Cancer Research Stamp – Raising more than $65 million for breast cancer research.

Senator Feinstein’s career has been one of firsts. She was the first woman President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the first woman Mayor of San Francisco, the first woman elected Senator of California, and the first woman member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

During the 110th Congress, Senator Feinstein became the first woman to chair the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. In that capacity, Senator Feinstein served as the Chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Services – overseeing the official swearing in ceremony for our nation’s 44th President, Barack Obama. Most recently, Senator Feinstein became the first female Senator to assume the chairmanship of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

A native of San Francisco, she was elected to the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors in 1969 and served 2 ½ terms as President of the Board. She became Mayor of San Francisco in November 1978 following the assassination of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk.

The following year she was elected to the first of two four-year terms. As Mayor, Dianne Feinstein managed the City’s finances with a firm hand, balancing nine budgets in a row. In 1987, City and State Magazine named her the nation’s “Most Effective Mayor.”

As a Senator, Dianne Feinstein has received a number of awards for her service, including the 2007 Legislator of the Year award from the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association, the Charles Dick Medal of Merit from the California National Guard (October 2007), the Grammy on the Hill award from the Recording Academy (September 2006), the League of California Cities Congressional Leader of the Year Award (May 2006), the William Penn Mott Jr. Park Leadership Award for singular outstanding achievement on behalf of National Park protecting (March 2006), the Outstanding Member of the U.S. Senate Award by the National Narcotic Officers Associations Coalition (February 2005), the Funding Hero Award from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (October 2004), the Women of Achievement Award from the Century City Chamber of Commerce (October 2004), and the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service in 2001.

Do you know where you still on the political spectrum? See “Political Beliefs, Where Are You” to find out where you stand.

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