At a time when the Democratic base is more restive than it has been in decades, Sen. Dianne Feinstein ignited a firestorm earlier this week when she refused to back an impeachment push and instead called for “patience” with President Trump.
The statements — provocative in Democratic circles, near-heretical in her hometown of San Francisco, where she made them — reflected a moderation and pragmatism that have hallmarks of Feinstein’s career.
But because of the state’s shifting demographics and political leanings, these qualities, after proving politically advantageous for decades, could become an albatross as the 84-year-old decides whether to seek a sixth term.
On Friday, lawmakers make final decisions about which of the year's most costly bills will get a full vote in both houses, with clearing of the "suspense file" in appropriations committees of both houses — lists that include 472 pieces of legislation.
The bills were all placed in what amounts to legislative limbo because they would spend $150,000 or more of taxpayer funds in the coming fiscal year. But the holding pattern for the bills is also a reflection of the desire for political horse-trading in the final weeks of the 2017 legislative session, as majority Democrats weigh which proposals are most important and which ones can wait.
The clearing of the "suspense file" in the state Senate and Assembly appropriations committees is also one of the more opaque parts of the legislative process. Unlike traditional committee hearings in which members cast a public vote, the Senate and Assembly bills dealt with on Friday will be moved or killed on broad party-line actions. The chairperson in each committee will not announce individual votes, allowing lawmakers to avoid scrutiny for either approving or killing the bills in question.