By Seema Mehta
February 20, 2014, 7:00 a.m.

Without offering a hint as to her plans, Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Wednesday lamented the departure of longtime congressional colleagues from California — including retiring Reps. Henry Waxman and George Miller –and said their institutional knowledge and ability to compromise in Washington would be missed.

“They were creative people who could put things together and who could negotiate compromise and get it done,” she said in an interview after speaking Wednesday at a Century City dinner gathering of the Pacific Council on International Policy. “You have to have some institutional knowledge, you have to know how to, how the government runs. When you hear some of the campaign speeches people make, it’s all ideology.”

Feinstein cited Miller and Waxman–who announced their pending retirements in recent weeks–and former Rep. Howard Berman, who lost in 2012 when his district was collapsed with that of Rep. Brad Sherman, who defeated Berman after a nasty electoral fight.

Earlier, in a question-and-answer session with about 120 people, the 22-year Democratic senator from San Francisco said the atmosphere in Washington had grown less hospitable to compromise and negotiation largely because of the tea party and unrestrained campaign spending.

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