The day before Halloween, as fires and blackouts were plaguing the state, a small group from Indivisible East Bay met with Senator Feinstein’s field representative Abby Ellis (and, for part of the meeting, with state director Jim Lazarus, who had to leave early to deal with the ongoing crises).
We asked Sen. Feinstein to be sure to block any government spending bills that give money to – or allow the administration to steal money for – harmful immigration enforcement, including the stupid wall. The next day she and her colleagues blocked a military spending bill that did just that! Thanks to everyone who called and emailed. Now, please call again, and thank Sen. Feinstein. Our calls of thanks are very important, as our Members of Congress receive plenty of calls from the other side, and staff lets us know when they don’t hear from us supporting their positive actions.
We also talked about the Climate Emergency as it relates both to the California fires and to federal funding for NOAA and NASA, which the Senate is actually handling well so far. We followed up on one of the big asks from our September Q&A with Jim in Berkeley, for Sen. Feinstein to co-sponsor Sen. Sanders’ Climate Emergency Concurrent Resolution, S.Con.Res.22 – but apparently Sen. Feinstein is still hung up on the fact that Sen. Sanders hasn’t put significant effort into recruiting her for it.
In Abby’s opinion, there is nothing Sen. Feinstein can do to either help asylum-seeking families turned away at our border or investigate the government’s improper role in sending them back to danger. She did say that the senator is committed to working to fix the problem if she ever becomes chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Speaking of taking back the Senate: we asked whether, if the Democrats did retake the Senate and the Republicans abused the filibuster, Sen. Feinstein would vote to eliminate the filibuster in order to address vital issues like gun safety, the climate crisis, and democracy expansion. Abby’s answer of “we’ll see” was a slight improvement over the last time we asked a similar question, when we got a “but bipartisanship!” answer.
We also mentioned that we are counting on Sen. Feinstein to hold Trump accountable when impeachment reaches the Senate. And we checked back in about oversight of treatment of migrant children in detention with special needs (Abby does not know if they’ve looked into it), the stalled Violence Against Women Act reauthorization (Abby blamed Sen. Ernst for the lack of progress), and the American Family Act (still no reason given for not co-sponsoring).