Senator Dianne Feinstein’s key accomplishments

Protecting Marriage Equality, 2022: 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 safety of personal care products, 2022: Major provisions from Senator Feinstein’s bill, the Personal Care Products Safety Act, were included in the fiscal year 2023 federal spending bill. These provisions updated safety regulations for personal care products for the first time in more than 80 years, bolstering the Food and Drug Administration’s authority to ensure the safety of these products and for the first time providing the authority to recall dangerous products.

Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, 2022: Senator Feinstein led introduction of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (Signed into law March 2022, Public Law No: 117-103), which funds initiatives to help protect women from domestic violence and sexual assault. The legislation reauthorized VAWA through 2027, preserving advancements made in previous reauthorizations and included a number of additional improvements to the current law.

Ensuring fair pay for federal wildland firefighters, 2022: 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.

Support for homeless veterans in the Los Angeles area, 2021: 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.

Protecting California’s desert wilderness, 2019: Senator Feinstein authored and secured passage of the California Desert Conservation and Recreation Act, which protects more than 375,000 acres of wilderness, expands desert national parks by almost 40,000 acres, designates 200,000 acres of off-highway vehicle areas and designates 77 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers. The bill is the final step in a process that began with the first California Desert Protection Act in 1994.

Fighting for military housing reform, 2019: Senator Feinstein secured provisions from her Ensuring Safe Housing for our Military Act in the annual defense authorization bill. The provisions will create stronger oversight mechanisms, allow the military to withhold payments to contractors until issues are resolved and prohibit contractors from charging certain fees. It will also require the military to withhold incentive fees from poorly performing contractors.

Safeguarding Young Athletes from Sexual Predators, 2018: In response to the USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal, Senator Feinstein in March 2017 introduced legislation requiring amateur athletics governing bodies to report sex-abuse allegations to law enforcement or a child-welfare agency within 24 hours. The law also makes it simpler for victims to report abuse and mandates oversight to ensure strong sexual-abuse prevention policies are implemented. The bill was signed into law in February 2018.

Protecting Religious Affiliated Institutions Act, 2018: In response to a string of bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers and other religiously-affiliated institutions, Senators Feinstein and Orrin Hatch drafted legislation to update the Church Arson Prevent Action. While it was already a federal crime to damage religious property, this bill makes clear that threats to religiously-affiliated institutions’ property is also a federal crime. This bill was signed into law in September 2018.

Confronting the Opioid Epidemic, 2018: To address the staggering number of drug and opioid overdose deaths ravaging this country, Senator Feinstein authored a number of key provisions that were included in the comprehensive, bipartisan opioid package, known as the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. This bill holds drug manufacturers and distributors accountable for failure to report suspicious orders of opioids and reauthorizes critical substance abuse prevention, treatment, and enforcement programs that directly benefit California, including the Drug Free Communities, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas and drug court programs.

Preventing Foreign Powers from Acquiring Sensitive U.S. Technology, 2018: Senator Feinstein was the lead Democratic cosponsor of a bipartisan bill with Senator Cornyn to modernize and strengthen how the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States reviews acquisitions, mergers and other foreign investments for national security risks. The law updates tools to prevent foreign efforts from acquiring sensitive U.S. technology. The bill was signed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act in August 2018.

Fighting Against Sex Trafficking, 2017: The Senate unanimously passed a bill drafted by Senators Feinstein and Grassley to help combat human trafficking. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act renews existing programs that make federal resources available to human trafficking survivors and establish new prevention, prosecution and collaboration initiatives to help bring the perpetrators to justice.

Protecting the California Desert, 2016: President Obama, drawing from a bill introduced by Senator Feinstein, designated three new national monuments spanning 1.8 million acres of California desert: the Mojave Trails National Monument, the Sand to Snow National Monument and Castle Mountains National Monument.

Countering the California Drought, 2016: Senator Feinstein secured passage of bipartisan legislation to respond to California’s five-year drought and modernize the state’s water system. In addition to short-term operational provisions, the bill also authorized $558 million in funds to assist the state in building a new water infrastructure including desalination, recycling and storage projects. Senator Feinstein has ensured full appropriation of this $558 million to help California weather future droughts.

Restoring Lake Tahoe, 2016: Senator Feinstein helped secure passage of the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act, a bill that authorized $415 million for aquatic invasive species control, storm water management, environmental restoration projects and fire risk reduction.

Restoring the West LA VA Campus, 2016: After decades of mismanagement at the West Los Angeles VA Campus, Senator Feinstein led an effort to halt these abusive practices and restore the campus to its intended purpose: service to veterans. In 2016, Congress passed the West Los Angeles Leasing Act, a law written by Senator Feinstein. This law requires that leases and land sharing agreements on the campus principally benefit veterans and their families. In addition to securing the passage of this law, Senator Feinstein has also worked to implement the Master Plan, which requires the development of 1,200 units of permanent supportive housing for homeless veterans.

Combatting Drug Trafficking, 2016: Senator Feinstein authored the Transnational Drug Trafficking Act, which was enacted in 2016. This bill allows for the prosecution of drug traffickers if there is a “reasonable cause to believe” that the drugs they are shipping will be trafficked into the United States. It also imposes penalties on individuals who manufacture or distribute precursor chemicals knowing that the chemicals will be used to make illicit drugs destined for the United States.

Banning Torture, 2015: Legislation drafted by Senator Feinstein and Senator John McCain to prevent torture of detainees in U.S. custody was signed into law. The amendment restricts interrogation techniques to those authorized in the Army Field Manual and requires access for the International Committee of the Red Cross to detainees in U.S. government custody.

Cybersecurity Information Sharing, 2015: Senator Feinstein worked with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr to secure passage of the first major cybersecurity bill, which promotes information sharing between companies and between companies and the government. The bill included strict privacy safeguards as well as liability protections.

Strengthening the Visa Waiver Program, 2015: Provisions from a bill drafted by Senator Feinstein to strengthen the security of the Visa Waiver Program were signed into law. These provisions require individuals who have traveled to high-risk countries to go through the traditional visa process rather than the visa waiver program. The provisions also require the use of electronic passports and improved information-sharing between the United States and participating countries.

Combating Human Trafficking, 2015: Provisions from a bill drafted by Senator Feinstein and Senator Rob Portman to reduce the demand for human trafficking were included in the Justice for Victims of Human Trafficking Act. Those provisions increase penalties for buyers of sex acts from trafficking victims, expand reporting on trafficking prosecutions, require training on targeting and prosecuting buyers, expand wiretapping authority to cover all human trafficking offenses and strengthen crime victims’ rights.

Bipartisan Benghazi Report, 2014: Following the tragic attacks against U.S. diplomatic and CIA facilities in Benghazi, the Senate Intelligence Committee conducted a bipartisan investigation. The resulting report found that the attacks were preventable based on security vulnerabilities and a known terrorist threat. The report made 18 recommendations to increase security at U.S. facilities abroad.

Strengthening Food Safety, 2015: The Department of Agriculture acted on calls from Senator Feinstein to finalize strong new pathogen standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter in poultry parts to protect consumers from foodborne illness.

Report on CIA Torture, 2014: Senator Feinstein oversaw a six-year review of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, culminating in the December 2014 release of the report’s executive summary and subsequent anti-torture legislation.

Anti-Meth Program, 2014: Senator Feinstein established the COPS Anti-Meth Program that directs federal funding to states with high seizures of precursor chemicals, finished meth labs and lab dump seizures. Since 2014, approximately $23 million has been appropriated to this program, with $5 million going to California.

Enhancing Safety of Underground Pipelines, 2012: The Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty and Job Creation Act was signed into law to address safety concerns about the 2.5 million miles of oil, natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines in the United States. The bill reflected many of the safety, inspection and enforcement provisions included in an earlier bill introduced by Senators Feinstein and Boxer in the wake of the tragic 2010 natural gas explosion in San Bruno, Calif.

Increasing Fuel Efficiency, 2012: Using a 2007 law spearheaded by Senator Feinstein, the Obama administration increased fleetwide fuel efficiency to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks by 2025.

Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, 2007: Senator Feinstein authored legislation that was signed into law in 2007 to require the Environmental Protection Agency to issue a rule mandating all major sources of greenhouse gases to report their emissions every year.

Combating Methamphetamine, 2010 and 2006: In 2010, a bill authored by Senator Feinstein was signed into law to require all regulated sellers of certain listed chemicals used to make methamphetamine to submit self-certifications of compliance to the attorney general. In 2006, a bill authored by Senators Feinstein and Jim Talent was signed into law to restrict the sale of products necessary to cook methamphetamine. The bill also authorized funds for enforcement, training and research into meth treatment.

Banning Phthalates in Children’s Toys, 2009: Senator Feinstein authored legislation to impose a nationwide ban on phthalates in products designed for children’s use, modeled after the California and EU bans.

Protecting unaccompanied immigrant children, 2008: Senators Feinstein and Sam Brownback passed legislation to guarantee basic humanitarian protections to unaccompanied immigrant children who arrive at the U.S. border alone.

Cracking Down on Rogue Internet Pharmacies, 2008: Senators Feinstein and Jeff Session succeeded in passing a bill to crack down on rogue Internet pharmacies that sell controlled substances without a valid prescription.

Closing the Enron Loophole, 2008: Senators Feinstein, Levin and Snowe authored legislation to close the so-called “Enron Loophole” and establish federal oversight of our nation’s electronic energy markets. The law prevents manipulation, excessive speculation and fraud in electronic energy futures markets, which had operated without regulation since 2000.

Increasing Fuel Efficiency, 2007: A bill authored by Senators Feinstein, Snowe, Inouye and Stevens was signed into law to increase average fuel economy standards for America’s fleet of vehicles by at least 10 miles per gallon over 10 years by 2020, the largest increase in fuel efficiency in more than two decades.

Criminalizing Border Tunnels, 2006: Senators Feinstein and Kyl succeeded in passing the first federal law to criminalize the construction or financing of tunnels or subterranean passages across an international border into the United States.

Preserving Pristine Land, 2006 and 2005: In 2006, Feinstein legislation permanently protected almost 300,000 acres and preserves over 21 miles of the Black Butte River in Northern California. In 2005, Senator Feinstein secured passage of a bill added 4,500 acres of pristine natural land to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and 25,500 acres to the Redwood National Park in Del Norte County.

Strengthening California’s Drought Resiliency, 2004: Senator Feinstein and Congressman Ken Calvert worked together to enact bipartisan legislation to increase federal funding for storage, water recycling and other projects to improve California’s water supply.

San Francisco Salt Ponds, 2003: Senator Feinstein helped negotiate the purchase of 16,500 acres of salt ponds along the San Francisco Bay, the largest wetlands restoration project in California history. Little more than a decade after the agreement was reached, endangered species were already returning to the wetlands and winter bird populations had doubled from 100,000 to 200,000.

Preventing Catastrophic Wildfires, 2003: Senators Feinstein and Ron Wyden were the lead Democratic sponsors of legislation enacted to expedite forest thinning projects to prevent catastrophic wildfires. 

National AMBER Alert Network Act, 2003: Senators Feinstein and Hutchinson spurred President Bush to issue an Executive Order that resulted in the creation of the nationwide AMBER Alert communications network to help law enforcement find abducted children..

Blocking Telemarketers, 2003: Senators Feinstein and Ensign passed a bill authorizing the Federal Trade Commission to establish a national “Do Not Call” telemarketing registry.

Lake Tahoe Restoration Act, 2000: Senator Feinstein’s bill authorized $300 million to help preserve and restore Lake Tahoe and reverse the environmental emergency threatening the future of the lake and forest. Senator Feinstein is working on updated legislation to build on the momentum of the original bill.

Adding to Golden Gate National Recreation Area, 2000: A bill drafted by Senator Feinstein added nearly 1,300 acres of undeveloped land in Pacifica, Marin County and San Francisco to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Preserving Otay Mountain Wilderness, 1999: A bill written by Senator Feinstein preserved 18,500 acres of the Otay Mountain region. The mountain area, located in eastern San Diego County, is home to 20 sensitive plant and animal species.

Headwaters Forest, 1999: Senator Feinstein negotiated an agreement with Maxxam Corp. to protect the 2,800-acre Headwaters Grove and other old-growth redwood groves that otherwise would have been destroyed. The agreement secured $250 million in federal funds (a match for state funding) to purchase the 7,500 acre Headwaters Forest, the largest privately held stand of uncut old-growth redwoods. The agreement also helped preserve 12 additional groves of ancient redwood trees.

Breast Cancer Research Stamp, 1997: Senator Feinstein worked with Senators D’Amato and Faircloth to authorize the Breast Cancer Research Stamp, a semipostal that helps fund research programs. The creation and continued reauthorization of this stamp has raised more than $86 million for breast cancer research.

Assault Weapons Ban, 1994: Senator Feinstein won passage of a landmark 10-year ban on the manufacture and sale of military-style assault weapons, including UZIs and AK-47s. The bill also banned copycat versions of the banned weapons, any weapon with a combination of specific “assault” features and ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

California Desert Protection Act, 1994: The enactment of Senator Feinstein’s bill protected more than 7 million acres of pristine California desert and established the Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks and the East Mojave Natural Preserve.

Source: Senator Feinstein’s official website