Current Position: U.S. Representative (since January 1983)
Why He Matters
Berman is not a familiar face on the national political scene, but his relative anonymity should not be mistaken for irrelevance. A veteran lawmaker and chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee during the 111th Congress, Berman is an efficacious legislative veteran who is considered one of the leading voices on immigration and foreign policy in the House.
Like his longtime friend and ally Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Berman is widely respected on the Hill for his mastery of the arcane nuts-and-bolts of lawmaking. He has assumed the point position on some of the most complex issues facing Congress — including the daunting effort to reform the nation’s patent and copyright laws — and has consistently reached across the aisle to work with Republicans on difficult topics.
Berman has been one of the strongest congressional supporters of Israel, and he often jokes that he was a Zionist long before he became a Democrat. “Israel’s security and the US-Israeli relationship is for me an issue that shapes my whole agenda in Congress and guides it,” he told the Jerusalem Post in 2008.Krieger, Hilary Leila, “Time to rethink,” The Jerusalem Post, June 23, 2008
(1)Krieger, Hilary Leila, “Time to rethink,” The Jerusalem Post, June 23, 2008
Berman was ranking member on the House Judiciary Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property subcommittee, but Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) announced in 2009 that the panel — which dealt with issues of key importance to the high-tech and entertainment industries in Berman’s district — would be subsumed into the larger Judiciary Committee. Nonetheless, Berman maintains wide influence over the so-called “Hollywood issues” facing Congress, most notably digital piracy.
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