Accomplishments in the Senate: 1993-2021
113th Congress (2013-2014) | 114th Congress (2015-2016)
112th Congress (2011-2012) | 111th Congress (2009-2010)
117th Congress Accomplishments – Second Session (2022)
Confirming qualified, diverse judicial nominees: As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Feinstein recommended numerous candidates to the Biden administration for positions on federal courts. In 2022, the following judges were confirmed to federal judgeships in California:
- Holly Thomas, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
- Gabriel Sanchez, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
- Fred Slaughter, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
- Sunshine Skyes, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
- Sherilyn Garnett, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
- Jacqueline Scott Corley, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
- Trina Thompson, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
- Ana de Alba, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
- Robert Huie, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
- Ruth Bermudez Montenegro, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
Protecting Marriage Equality: Senator Feinstein authored the Senate version of the Respect for Marriage Act (Public Law 117-228), a bill to repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, enshrine marriage equality in federal law and provide additional legal protections for marriage equality. The bill passed both chambers of Congress in November 2022 and was signed into law by President Biden on December 13, 2022.
Ensuring fair pay for federal wildland firefighters: As part of the bipartisan infrastructure law, Senator Feinstein secured $600 million to provide pay raises of up to $20,000 per year for federal wildland firefighters, bringing their pay in line with state and other firefighters, and create a new occupational series for wildland firefighters. Senator Feinstein led several letters urging the swift implementation of these provisions, and in June, both the pay supplement and new occupational series were implemented. The pay raise was retroactive for all wildland firefighters to October 2021. In addition, Senator Feinstein led efforts in the Senate to secure a 14 percent increase for the U.S. Forest Service firefighter salary line item in the fiscal year 2023 federal budget to support a permanent pay raise for firefighters.
Lifting the overtime pay cap for federal firefighters: Senator Feinstein advocated to waive the federal overtime pay cap for firefighters in 2022 and 2023. This ensures that firefighters who work hundreds of extra hours defending communities against wildfires will get paid the overtime they’ve earned.
Streamlining process for federal firefighter occupational illness claims: Senator Feinstein led a group of colleagues on a letter to the Labor Department in February 2022 requesting the department create a special unit to expedite federal firefighter claims. In April 2022, the department announced a new streamlined process for federal firefighters to file compensation claims.
Protecting sea life through sustainable fishing practices: The fiscal year 2023 federal spending bill included the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act, authored by Senator Feinstein. This legislation will phase-out large-scale driftnet fishing and adopts alternative fishing practices that minimize the incidental catch of marine life including dolphins, whales and sea turtles.
Improving maritime safety standards: Following the tragic September 2019 Conception boat fire that killed 34 people, Senator Feinstein authored legislation to update Coast Guard safety standards for small passenger vessels. The bill was signed into law as part of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act and the Coast Guard finalized and began implementing the new standards on March 28, 2022.
Reauthorizing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act: Senators Feinstein and Chuck Grassley led efforts to reauthorize programs through the landmark Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (signed into law 1/6/23) extends and updates resources for law enforcement partners and nonprofits around the country to better prevent human trafficking and protect survivors.
Addressing rising use of methamphetamine: Senators Feinstein and Grassley introduced the Methamphetamine Response Act, a bill to designate methamphetamine as an emerging drug threat and direct the Office of National Drug Control Policy to implement a plan within 90 days of the bill’s passage to address it. President Biden signed the legislation into law on March 14, 2022.
Repurposing the West Los Angeles VA campus: Senator Feinstein and Congressman Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) included language in the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act allowing the VA to use funds generated from future easements at the West LA VA campus to be used to support housing developments for homeless veterans. The members in 2021 passed legislation allowing other types of funds generated on the campus to be used for new veteran housing.
Securing California’s water future: Senator Feinstein helped secure nearly $900 million for the Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation in the fiscal year 2023 government funding bill to fund water infrastructure and drought resilience programs in California. This includes:
- $186 million to fund drought-resilience projects under the WIIN Act, including water storage projects, water recycling projects, habitat restoration and other environmental projects.
- $116 million to fund three projects in California: $80 million for Sites Reservoir in the Sacramento Valley, $18 million for the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion in Contra Costa County, and $18 million for the Purified Water Replenishment Project in Riverside County.
- $81 million for seismic retrofit of the BF Sisk Dam in Western Merced County, a hub for California’s water system, and $263 million for managing and operating California Reclamation projects.
- $18 million for the repair of San Joaquin Valley canals that are critical for replenishing aquifers and compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
- More than $442 million for Army Corps of Engineers flood control; dam and levee safety; coastal resilience; and harbor operations and maintenance projects.
- $5 million for the Air Force to make research and reconnaissance flights to support the prediction of atmospheric rivers, which produce major storms. This improves the ability of local authorities to more efficiently manage water reservoirs.
Bolstering the West against drought: Senator Feinstein worked with several Western senators to draft language in the Inflation Reduction Act (signed into law August 16, 2022, Public Law 117-169) to aid drought-stricken communities in the Colorado River basin. The senators worked to add $4 billion to compensate farmers who agree to significantly reduce water usage or fallow land; for conservation projects like lawn removal and canal lining to help increase available water; and for environmental restoration projects to improve dangerous health conditions caused by climate change.
Friant-Kern Canal restoration: Senator Feinstein helped secure more than $300 million in federal funding to aid the restoration of the Friant-Kern canal over multiple years. Restorative work on the canal began in January 2022.
Ensuring federal investment in affordable housing: As part of the fiscal year 2023 omnibus funding bill, Senator Feinstein helped secure critical funds to combat homelessness in California. This includes:
- $30 billion for Housing Choice Vouchers, including an extra $50 million to expand rental assistance vouchers to an additional 11,700 households, including individuals and families experiencing or at risk of homelessness; survivors of domestic violence; and veterans.
- $3.6 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, including $290 million for Emergency Solutions Grants and $107 million to prevent youth homelessness.
- $1.5 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program.
Cleaning up pollution on the U.S.-Mexico border: Key parts of Senator Feinstein’s Border Water Quality Restoration and Protection Act were included in the 2023 government funding bill. The provisions, signed into law as part of the larger funding package, include language authorizing the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) to accelerate development of water treatment projects.
Expressing the sense of the Senate: The Senate unanimously passed multiple resolutions introduced by Senator Feinstein to recognize and designate important issues.
- January 2022 was designated as “National Trafficking and Modern Slavery Prevention Month.”
- March 2022 was designated as “Women’s History Month.”
- April 2022 was designated as “National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month” and as “Countering International Parental Child Abduction Month.”
- May 10, 2022 was designated as “National Fentanyl Awareness Day.”
- July 2022 was designated as “American Grown Flower and Foliage Month.”
- September 2022 was designated as “National Workforce Development Month.”
- October 2022 was designated as “National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.”
117th Congress Accomplishments – First Session (2021)
Confirming qualified, diverse judicial nominees: Senator Feinstein recommended numerous candidates to the Biden administration for positions on the federal bench. In 2021, the following Feinstein recommendations were confirmed to federal judgeships:
- Lucy Koh, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Jennifer Thurston, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
- Maame Frimpong, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
- Linda Lopez, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
- Jinsook Ohta, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
Support for homeless veterans in the Los Angeles area: Senator Feinstein worked with Representative Ted Lieu to secure enactment of the West LA VA Campus Improvement Act (Signed into law June 2021, Public Law No: 117-18). The legislation authorizes the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to use funds generated through land use-agreements at the West LA VA campus for the development of supportive housing and services.
Improving California’s drought resiliency: In the bipartisan infrastructure law, Senator Feinstein authored provisions that will provide $8.3 billion to improve drought resiliency in the West, of which half is expected to go to California. The $8.3 billion includes:
- $3.2 billion for repairing aging Bureau of Reclamation infrastructure.
- $1.15 billion for water storage projects above and below ground.
- $1 billion for water recycling projects.
- $900 million for ecosystem restoration and water conservation projects.
- $500 million for dam safety.
- $250 million for desalination projects.
- $300 million for water conservation efforts on the Colorado River.
Fighting against the severe risk of wildfire: Provisions to reduce the risk of wildfires from Senator Feinstein’s Wildfire Emergency Act were enacted as part of President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law. Senator Feinstein helped secure:
- $3.37 billion for wildfire risk reduction projects in California including hazardous fuels reduction, controlled burns, community wildfire defense grants, collaborative landscape forest restoration projects and funding for firefighting resources.
- $2.13 billion for the Interior Department and U.S. Forest Service to carry out and fund ecological restoration projects on public and private lands.
- $5 billion for utilities and grid operators to bury power lines and install fire-resistant technologies to reduce wildfires and expand the use of electricity micro grids to reduce disturbances caused by voluntary power shutoffs.
- Incentives for public utilities commissions to create programs to reduce electricity consumption during periods of high demand such as heat waves.
- $3.5 billion for the weatherization assistance program to help homeowners make energy efficient and fire-resistant improvements to their homes.
Senator Feinstein helped secure an additional $175 million for the removal of hazardous wildfire fuels and $175 million to rehabilitate burned land as part of the September 2021 continuing budget resolution.
Ensuring fair pay for federal wildland firefighters: Senator Feinstein authored legislation to raise the pay for federal wildland firefights to be commensurate with that of CalFire firefighters. As part of the bipartisan infrastructure law, Senator Feinstein secured $600 million for firefighters from the Interior Department and Agriculture Department. This resulted in pay raises for federal firefighters up to $20,000. Senator Feinstein also authored a provision requiring the Office of Personnel Management to create an occupational series for wildland firefighters.
Supporting survivors of domestic violence: Senator Feinstein led a Senate resolution reaffirming the Senate’s commitment to supporting survivors of domestic violence and designated October 2021 as “National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.”
Cleaning up the Tijuana River Valley in San Diego: Senators Feinstein and Padilla authored the Border Water Quality Restoration and Protection Act, which would designate the EPA as the lead agency to coordinate all federal, state and local agencies to build and maintain needed infrastructure projects to decrease pollution along the border. As part of the 2019 United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, Congress allocated $325 million to address cross-border sewage flows. In November 2021, the EPA announced a multi-step plan, consistent with the Border Water Quality Restoration and Protection Act, to address the problem.
Building a year-round federal firefighting force: As climate change continues to exacerbate drought in California, the wildfire season has become year-round. Senator Feinstein authored a provision in the bipartisan infrastructure bill to convert 1,000 seasonal firefighters to year-round positions.
Lifting the overtime pay cap for federal firefighters: As part of the September 2021 continuing budget resolution, Senator Feinstein authored a provision to waive the federal overtime pay cap for firefighters in 2021. This ensures that firefighters who work hundreds of extra hours defending communities against wildfires will get paid the overtime they deserve rather than having their pay capped at an arbitrary level.
Cutting down on harmful greenhouse gases: Senators Feinstein and Padilla wrote a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan on May 13, 2021, urging the administration use California’s ambitious standards to strengthen federal regulations on the production and use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). In September 2021, the administration announced stricter regulations of HFCs, building off California’s framework of regulations.
Hardening the American financial system against climate change threats: Senator Feinstein authored the Addressing Climate Financial Risk Act to help prepare the United States for potential threats climate change poses to the financial system. Following its introduction, the Biden administration issued an executive order directing the Treasury to study climate-related financial risk. This executive order included several provisions from the Addressing Climate Financial Risk Act.
Increasing California’s water storage and recycling capacity: In the September 2021 continuing budget resolution, Senator Feinstein helped secure:
- $200 million for the Bureau of Reclamation for immediate drought relief.
- $238 million to improve California’s drought resilience, including
- $205 million for storage projects
- $80 million for Sites Reservoir
- $60 million for BF Sisk Dam Raise
- $50 million for Los Vaqueros Reservoir expansion
- $15 million for Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir
- $21 million for nine water recycling projects in California
- $12 million for four desalination projects in California
National Museum of the Surface Navy: Senator Feinstein introduced legislation in the Senate to designate the Battleship Iowa Museum, located in the Port of Los Angeles, as the National Museum of the Surface Navy. The legislation became law as part of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.
Celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month: Senator Feinstein joined the entire Senate Democratic Caucus on a resolution that designated June as “LGBTQ Pride Month.” Senator Feinstein introduced the first Senate pride month resolution in 2017 and helped lead it every year since.
Protecting Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego: Senator Feinstein authored legislation to prevent the closure of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act required the Marine Corps to review its two recruit training locations, San Diego and Parris Island, S.C., for possible relocation. Senator Feinstein’s provision became law as part of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.
Encouraging workforce development: Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, millions of Americans were forced to adapt their work habits. Senator Feinstein led a Senate resolution that encouraged investment in education and skills training and designated September as “National Workforce Development Month.”
Recognizing women’s history: Following the 2020 passage of their legislation to create the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum, Senators Feinstein and Collins led a resolution that designated March 2021 as “Women’s History Month.”
Promoting cancer research: Senator Feinstein led a Senate resolution that designated May 2021 as National Cancer Research Month and expressed support to establish cancer research as a national and international priority.
Bolstering security of the Capitol: Senator Feinstein cosponsored the Capitol Police Emergency Assistance Act of 2021, legislation to address inefficiencies in the security of the Capitol following the January 6 insurrection. This legislation gives the Capitol Police authority to request assistance from the DC National Guard, an ability the police did not have on January 6, delaying response time. The bill was signed into law by President Biden in December 2021.
Supporting survivors of sexual assault: Senators Feinstein and Grassley led a resolution that designated May 2021 as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
Stopping a casino in Vallejo opposed by the local community: When the Department of the Interior was reconsidering its original decision denying an Indian tribe’s request to develop an off-reservation casino in Vallejo, Senator Feinstein wrote Interior a letter urging the Department to hold to its original decision. After receiving the senator’s letter, Interior reaffirmed its decision to block the casino.
Updating boat safety regulations: Following the horrific Conception boat fire that killed 34 passengers off the coast of California in 2019, Senator Feinstein authored the Small Passenger Vessel Safety Act, which was signed into law as part of the 2020 NDAA. In February 2021, the Coast Guard announced the development of new regulations as was directed by Senator Feinstein’s bill, including requiring smoke detectors and interconnected fire alarms, having two means of escape and implementation of roving watch and safety management systems.
Assisting an Indian Tribe’s efforts to hold an organizing election: Following two letters from Senator Feinstein, the Bureau of Indian Affairs moved forward to organize an election for the California Valley Miwok tribe, allowing the tribe to elect its own representatives to govern itself as a sovereign nation.
Supporting the U.S. flower industry: Senator Feinstein led a Senate resolution that encouraged Americans to buy domestically grown flowers and foliage. The resolution designated July as “American Grown Flower and Foliage Month” and recognized the more than 16,000 floral businesses across the country.
Promoting sustainable fishing practices: The Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act, authored by Senator Feinstein, would phase-out large-scale driftnet fishing and adapts alternative fishing practices that minimize the incidental catch of marine life. The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent in September 2021. The House Natural Resources Committee passed the bill out of committee by voice vote, but the bill had not been considered by the full House by the end of the first session of Congress.
Addressing rising use of methamphetamine: Senators Feinstein and Grassley introduced the Methamphetamine Response Act, a bill that would designate methamphetamine as an emerging drug threat and direct the Office of National Drug Control Policy to implement a plan within 90 days of the bill’s passage to address it. The legislation passed the Senate and was voted out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee by voice vote, but did not pass the full House before the end of the first session.
Ensuring access to Desert Sage Youth Wellness Center: Senator Feinstein and Congressman Raul Ruiz introduced a bill to improve access to the Indian Health Service's Desert Sage Youth Wellness Center in Hemet, Calif. The bill authorizes the Indian Health Service to purchase the land at fair market value from willing sellers and repave the dirt road to the facility. The bill passed the Senate, but did not pass the House before the end of the first session.
Championing protections for racehorses: Following the death of racehorse Medina Spirit, Senator Feinstein sent a letter to the California Horse Racing Association, calling on them to examine the cause of death.
Preventing horse slaughter: Senator Feinstein called on the Bureau of Land Management to conduct a thorough investigation into disturbing allegations that mistreated wild horses put up for adoption under a federal program were instead sent to slaughterhouses. The Bureau committed to improve their screening process and increase inspections of adopted wild horses.
Keeping airplane passenger’s health safe: In line with the recommendations of public health experts, Senator Feinstein introduced the U.S. Air Travel Public Safety Act to require airline passengers to provide proof of vaccination, a recent negative COVID-19 test or proof of recent recovery from previous infection before flying.
Preparing the United States for future pandemics: Senator Feinstein led the introduction of bipartisan legislation, to establish a 9/11-style national commission to investigate the facts and circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and recommend measures to prevent a similar outbreak in the future.
Listening to Californians: In 2021, Senator Feinstein’s office responded to nearly 4.5 million emails and letters and fielded more than 150,000 phone calls, receiving input from Californians on congressional issues.
Assisting Californians with federal agencies: Senator Feinstein’s casework team helped return more than $15 million in benefits to Californians who were facing obstacles with federal agencies.