Feinstein was first elected to Congress in 1992. She was a strong supporter of gun control and often tried to find common ground with Republicans, which angered her more liberal friends.
WASHINGTON: Multiple people with knowledge of the situation say that Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has died. She was a strong backer of gun control laws and was known for reaching out to Republicans during her 30 years in the Senate.
She had lived 90 years.
Feinstein announced her retirement in February. She is the oldest senator, the senator who has been in office the longest, and the senator from California who has been in office the longest. People wanted her to quit because they were worried about her health.
In 1979, San Francisco’s Mayor at the time, Dianne Feinstein, comes out of a voting booth after casting her vote in a runoff race.Bettmann Documents in the Archive
After she announced her retirement from the Senate, President Joe Biden said she was “a passionate defender of civil liberties and a strong voice for national security policies that keep us safe while honoring our values.”
He said at the time, “I’ve worked with more U.S. Senators than almost anyone else.” “I can say with full confidence that Dianne Feinstein is one of the best.”
Feinstein skipped votes at the end of February. On March 1, her spokesman said, “The senator is in California this week taking care of a health matter and hopes to be back in Washington soon.”
The California Democrat was a strong backer of gun control laws. He helped get Bill Clinton, who was president at the time, to ban assault weapons in 1994, and he pushed for stricter laws after the ban ended in 2004.
In 1998, Senator Dianne Feinstein took an AK-47 style attack weapon to Capitol Hill to show it to people.Photograph by Richard Ellis/Alamy
As head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Feinstein oversaw a multiyear review of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, which was started after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. This led to laws that make it illegal to torture people in this way.
She was a moderate Democrat who was known for trying to find common ground with Republicans. This made the more left members of her party criticize her. She didn’t agree with them on other things, like her resistance to government-run single-payer health care and the ambitious Green New Deal climate plan, which she said was politically and financially impossible.
During the hearings for Amy Coney Barrett’s approval to the Supreme Court in October 2020, Feinstein gave Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a hug and told him how well he had run the session. Feinstein was the most senior member of the panel, so there were instant calls for her to step down, and she did.
Feinstein liked Senate traditions and didn’t want to change them. However, she said she would be open to changing the filibuster rules in 2021 if Democrats couldn’t pass key parts of their legislative agenda, such as voting rights reforms, gun control, and reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
After a meeting on Capitol Hill in 1993 to talk about health care problems, Hilary Rodham Clinton, Barbara Mikulski, Dianne Feinstein, and Patty Murray, from left to right, shook hands.Associated Press/John Duricka
In the past few years, there has been a lot of pressure on Feinstein to leave so that younger politicians can take her place. In April, Feinstein replied to an investigation by the San Francisco Chronicle by saying that many coworkers who did not want to be named were worried that she was mentally unfit to serve. “I remain committed to doing what I said I would do when I was re-elected in 2018: fight for Californians,” she said at the time.
Katie Porter, Adam Schiff, and Barbara Lee, who are all Democrats, want to replace Feinstein.
Feinstein had a lot of power in both state and national politics, and getting her support was very important. She told California Gov. Gavin Newsom, for example, that she wanted Alex Padilla, who was the state’s secretary of state at the time, to fill Kamala Harris’ Senate seat once she was named vice president. Newsom did what she asked.
On February 14 at the Capitol, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., leaves the Senate Chamber after a vote.Kent Nishimura/Getty Images/Los Angeles Times
Feinstein was the first woman to be mayor of San Francisco. Before being elected to the Senate in 1992, she was a member and president of the city’s Board of Supervisors. She became mayor after the deaths of Mayor George Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay public figure in California.
Richard Blum, who worked as a financial banker, was Feinstein’s third husband. He died last year. Her family includes her daughter Katherine Feinstein, who is a judge in the San Francisco County Superior Court, her son-in-law Rick Mariano, and her granddaughter Eileen Feinstein Mariano.