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Sen. Dianne Feinstein says she won't run for reelection in 2024

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., arrives for the Senate Democratic Caucus leadership election at the Capitol in Washington on Dec. 8, 2022.
J. Scott Applewhite
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., arrives for the Senate Democratic Caucus leadership election at the Capitol in Washington on Dec. 8, 2022.

California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein says she won't seek reelection in 2024.

At 89, she's the oldest sitting member of Congress, serving 30 years in the Senate.

In her retirement announcement Tuesday afternoon, she promised to seek "as much for California as I can through the end of next year when my term ends."

"Each of us was sent here to solve problems. That's what I've done for the last 30 years, and that's what I plan to do for the next two years," she said in a statement.

Feinstein told reporters Tuesday that she's not yet endorsing a candidate for her seat but that a decision could come in the next few months.

Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter have announced their 2024 Senate bids for her seat. Reps. Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee may also be considering a run to replace Feinstein.

Feinstein is hailed for her historic firsts

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer applauded Feinstein for her impactful career in the chamber, breaking "innumerable glass ceilings" along the way. Feinstein, for example, was the first woman to chair the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and later, the first woman to serve as the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"As the longest-serving senator from California, Dianne Feinstein's long, distinguished career stands out for the sheer width and breadth of what she accomplished," Schumer said in a statement. "Throughout her career she has always been pragmatic in her approach to every issue and has our country and her beloved California top of mind."

She served a host of other firsts: the first woman president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the first woman mayor of San Francisco and the first woman elected senator of California.

She has a lengthy legislative record

One of Feinstein's major pieces of legislation that she authored was the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, enacted in 1994. The law prohibited the sale, manufacturing and import of military-type assault weapons; it expired in 2004.

While serving as the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee she released a five-year reviewof the CIA's detention and interrogation programs. In the report's executive summary, Feinstein wrote that it was her "personal conclusion that, under any common meaning of the term, CIA detainees were tortured" during a time period that followed the 9/11 attacks.

In 2020, Feinstein received criticism from liberal groups following the confirmation hearings for President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. She hugged Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham at the conclusion of the Senate Judiciary panel's hearings, saying, "This has been one of the best set of hearings that I've participated in."

For the remainder of her term, Feinstein said she plans to focus on "passing commonsense legislation to fight the epidemic of gun violence, preserving our pristine lands and promoting economic growth."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: May 17, 2023 at 12:00 AM EDT
A previous version of this story incorrectly said the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired in 2014. It expired in 2004.
Dustin Jones is a reporter for NPR's digital news desk. He mainly covers breaking news, but enjoys working on long-form narrative pieces.
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