Born in Los Angeles, California, Howard Berman attended U.C.L.A., where he received his B.A. in 1962 and his LL.B. in 1965.
Upon his graduation from law school, Howard Berman began his career in public service with a year's work as a VISTA volunteer. From 1967 until 1973, he practiced law in Los Angeles, specializing in labor relations. In 1973, he was elected to the California State Assembly.
In his first term in the state legislature, then-Assemblyman Berman was named Assembly Majority leader, the youngest person ever to serve in that leadership capacity. He also served as Chair of the Assembly Democratic Caucus and the Policy Research Management Committee of the Assembly. In 1982, Berman was elected to Congress where he was named to the Foreign Affairs and Judiciary Committees.
Following his appointment as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in March 2008, Berman negotiated a five-year, $50 billion reauthorization of our global HIV/AIDS programs, authored legislation that removed Nelson Mandela and other members of the African National Congress from the U.S. terrorism list, and passed a bill to strengthen U.S. assistance to Israel. Congressman Berman is currently the Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
As the second most senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Berman plays a key role in shaping the copyright, trademark, and patent laws that are of vital importance to the entertainment, biotechnology, broadcasting, pharmaceutical, telecommunication, consumer electronics, and information technology industries. As a member of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law.
Berman is particularly well-known for his ability to form bipartisan coalitions. Together with Republican Henry Hyde, Berman wrote a law authorizing embargoes on nations that support terrorism. With Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, he wrote amendments to the False Claims Act that have saved over $20 billion in taxpayer money since 1986.
"There are few House members who have made such an imprint on legislation in so many areas as Howard Berman," says The Almanac of American Politics. The Almanac goes on to call Berman "one of the most aggressive and creative members of the House and one of the most clear-sighted operators in American politics."
Congressman Berman and his wife, Janis Gail Berman, have two daughters, Brinley and Lindsey.