About The Ranking Member

Sen. Feinstein

Dianne Feinstein

 of California

As California's senior Senator, Dianne Feinstein has built a reputation as an independent voice, working with both Democrats and Republicans to find commonsense 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 strengthen the nation's security at home and abroad, combat crime and violence, battle cancer and protect natural resources in California and across the country.

In 2009, Senator Feinstein assumed chairmanship of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, where she oversaw the nation’s 16 intelligence agencies. She was the first female Senator to hold that position. As chairman, Feinstein oversaw the passage of six intelligence authorization bills following a five-year drought. The committee also approved a key bipartisan report on the Benghazi attacks and released key information about the CIA's detention and interrogation program following a six-year review. Today, Senator Feinstein serves as vice chairman of the committee, during which time the committee passed the first significant congressional legislation to address security flaws in our nation's cybersecurity. 

Senator Feinstein is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee where she is ranking member on the Subcommittee on Energy and Water. She is also a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and 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.

In addition to her official committee assignments, Senator Feinstein is co-chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, co-chairman of the Senate Cancer Coalition and co-chairman 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 Standards - Increasing 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. Her bipartisan legislation ultimately led the Obama administration to put in place a mandate for a fleetwide 54.5 miles-per-gallon requirement by model year 2020.  
  • California Desert Protection - Protecting more than 7 million acres of pristine California desert, the largest such designation in the history of the continental United States.
  • 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. 
  • Calfed - Authorizing $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. 
  • 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.


  • 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, Senator Feinstein served for nine years as a San Francisco County Supervisor, starting in 1969. She became mayor of San Francisco in 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 2015 Ansel Adams Award from The Wilderness Society, the 2012 Outstanding International Public Service Award from the World Affairs Council, the 2007 Legislator of the Year award from the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association, the 2007 Charles Dick Medal of Merit from the California National Guard, the 2006 Grammy on the Hill Award from the Recording Academy, the 2006 Congressional Leader of the Year Award from the League of California Cities, the 2006 William Penn Mott Jr. Park Leadership Award from National Parks Conservation Association, the 2005 Outstanding Member of the U.S. Senate Award from the National Narcotic Officers Associations Coalition, the 2004 Funding Hero Award from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the 2004 Women of Achievement Award from the Century City Chamber of Commerce and the 2001 Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service in 2001.