Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
Former Congressman Howard Berman, who was defeated by fellow Democratic representative Brad Sherman (D – Sherman Oaks) in a heated and closely watched election last year, has scored a new job with the law firm Covington & Burling. Berman will join the firm’s policy and government affairs practice, and be based out of its Washington, D.C., office.
“I talked to many people who know this world very well, and this firm is held in the highest regard, and is known for being a good place to work,” Berman said in an interview on March 14. “They take a very collaborative, team-like approach to the work they do.”
Berman, who spent 30 years on the Foreign Affairs Committee, including a handful of years as its chair and ranking Democrat, expects to focus his attention on international issues. He joined the firm one week after 25-year veteran Republican Senator Jon Kyl came on board.
He joins a team that includes a number of familiar faces, including former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
“Many of the people, I worked with them when I was in government,” Berman said. “Sometimes slightly adversarily, but usually quite cooperatively on issues.”
In accordance with House rules, Berman won’t be allowed to lobby his former colleagues until 2014. And while he may not be in Congress, Berman will continue his bi-coastal ways: He will be based in the firm’s D.C. office, but will also spend a significant amount of his time working from Los Angeles.
3.14.13 at 9:24 am | The veteran former congressman joins Covington &. . .
1.4.13 at 2:55 pm | Colleagues paid tribute in in the House chamber. . .
12.19.12 at 3:06 pm | In political campaigns, how and when a strategist. . .
12.12.12 at 12:22 pm | Sherman and Berman spent $40 for each registered. . .
11.12.12 at 11:22 pm | And this blogger scratches his head.
11.7.12 at 2:46 pm | The National Jewish Democratic Council sent this. . .
5.14.12 at 12:04 pm | Sherman, a 16-year veteran of Congress appears to. . . (4)
10.1.12 at 3:41 pm | Collecting interest on personal loans to campaign. . . (3)
10.12.12 at 1:36 pm | On Friday, leaders in the movement for. . . (3)
January 4, 2013 | 2:55 pm
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
After 30 years in office, Rep. Howard Berman’s (D – Calif.) last day in Congress was Jan. 2. Unlike some other veteran lawmakers who left office this year – including Rep. Gary Ackerman (D – N.Y.), who penned a retrospective op-ed in The New York Times on his last day, and former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I – Conn.) who told his own story during a 20-minute speech to a mostly empty Senate chamber in December – Berman appears to have made no such public pronouncements.
Requests for an exit interview submitted to members of Berman’s staff met with no response, and, according to the Congressional Record, Berman’s speeches on the House floor remained focused on business as usual right up until the end. On Dec. 31, the former ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee spoke on the House floor to condemn North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile last month. Berman didn’t mention it would likely be his last opportunity to do so.
His Congressional colleagues did mark the occasion, however. Along with Berman, Reps. Pete Stark, Lynn Woolsey, Bob Filner, Joe Baca and Laura Richardson all left Congress last year; members of the California delegation paid homage to Berman and the others who had represented the Golden State on Dec. 12 in a special hour-long tribute on the House floor.
“This House will miss you because you brought honor to it in everything that you have done,” Rep. Anna Eshoo said in an emotional speech about Berman. “So it is bittersweet. No, it’s just bitter. There isn’t any sweetness to it.”
During the celebration of their colleagues’ careers and accomplishments, a number of Representatives praised Berman for his well-known achievements – “Mr. Berman will be remembered as a strong friend of Israel,” said Rep. George Miller – as well as for lesser-known ones.
Rep. Mike Honda spoke admiringly of Berman’s support for a 2007 bill, H. Res. 121, which called on Japan “to apologize and to acknowledge the tragedy endured at the hands of its Imperial Army during World War II by over 200,000 women in Asia who were forced into sexual slavery.”
While Stark and Woolsey both made remarks on Dec. 12, the Congressional Record doesn’t include any statements from Berman during that hour in the House chamber.
Berman’s silent departure stands in marked contrast to the speech he delivered at the start of his Congressional career. On April 12, 1983, in concluding his tribute to another accomplished California legislator -- Rep. Phil Burton, who had died two days earlier of a brain aneurysm at age 56 -- Berman noted that the speech was his first as a Congressman.
“I just find it ironic and sad,” Berman said, “that in the excitement of being elected to this wonderful institution, that the first chance I have to address the body on any subject is on the passing of a man who I had hoped to spend years working with and learning from.”
December 19, 2012 | 3:06 pm
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
In political campaigns, how and when a strategist chooses to spend money can mean the difference between winning and losing.
In the San Fernando Valley race this year between Congressional Representatives Howard Berman and Brad Sherman, the candidates’ campaigns spent astronomical sums — a combined $11.7 million, breaking the previous record for most spent by two Congressional candidates on a single campaign in California, with an additional $4.5 million spent by outside groups.
Sherman chief strategist Parke Skelton believes the 20-point drubbing his candidate delivered to the more senior Berman in November had been all but determined six months earlier.
Berman spent $3.5 million heading up to the June primary; Sherman, who had already represented most of the newly drawn district for a decade prior to redistricting, spent $2.2 million. Despite spending less, Sherman finished first in the primary, beating Berman by 10 points.
“They came out of the primary with $400,000; we came out with $3 million,” Skelton said. “At that point, I think the race was over. They were behind, and they couldn’t outspend us — and that’s generally a recipe for losing.”
Berman campaign manager Brandon Hall, who took over only after the primary, did not respond to requests for comment. In an article that appeared in the magazine Campaigns & Elections in November, he essentially agreed with Skelton’s assessment.
“I think there was a mistake made during the primary to spend too much money,” Hall told the magazine. “The campaign was a little bit careless with their money early on. [Berman] was raising a ton of money, but then he was spending money at too high a rate.”
Over the course of the two-round election cycle, Berman, Sherman and their respective allies together spent a total of $40.80 per registered voter in the district. Thanks to publicly disclosed spending reports, it’s possible to see exactly where all that money actually went — exactly which restaurants, office supply shops and campaign consultants the two sides used in their efforts to win re-election.
To reach voters these days, campaigns must use a variety of tactics, both old and new. They send people out to knock on voters’ doors, send numerous pieces of mail to their mailboxes and, of course, buy advertising in all manner of media, from cable TV to sites across the Internet.
According to documents obtained from the Federal Election Commission, Berman spent
a little less than at least $1.1 million on direct mail to voters, while Sherman spent about $1.34 $1.9 million, sending 5.1 million individual pieces to voters over the course of teh campaign, according to Skelton. The two campaigns each utilized paid canvassers, but while Berman contracted with a few companies specializing in voter contact for which his campaign paid at least $750,000, Sherman’s spent less than half that amount, about $334,000.
“A canvass is the most effective form of communication,” said Eric Hacopian, who was hired by the Sherman campaign to do canvassing in advance of the primary. “It’s exceptionally expensive, but if I’m a smart person, I can be a helluva lot more convincing than 20 pieces of mail.”
The Sherman side kept its canvassing expenditure low, in part by bringing the entire operation in-house after the primary.
“It’s cheaper that way, and you can really monitor what you’re paying per contact,” Skelton said.
Hacopian said Sherman’s campaign, on the whole, was aimed to ensure Berman could not make inroads into the 60 percent of the new district that had been part of Sherman’s old one.
“They played masterful defense and they ran a very good campaign,” Hacopian said. “If Brad had run a poor campaign and Howard had run a better campaign, Brad still would’ve won; he just wouldn’t have won by this much.”
That’s not to say Berman didn’t try new things in his effort to pull off a win against Sherman, who started off with the twin advantages of being better funded and better known in the district.
Over the course of the long campaign, Berman’s side hired three different firms and individuals to manage its online communications and its presence on the Internet, spending more than $135,000 on Web development as well as on Facebook and Google ads.
Sherman’s campaign, meanwhile, spent a bit more on its Web-based effort, about $154,000.
That amounts to about 2 percent of the total spent by each campaign overall, numbers dwarfed by what was spent by the two sides for ad time on cable television. Sherman’s media buys cost more than $1.2 million; Berman spent about $2.3 across cable television, including ads on individual channels as well as on a satellite TV company’s airwaves.
Nevertheless, although online campaigning was a relatively small part of the Berman vs. Sherman race, both sides hired some of the most advanced firms — often based in Washington, D.C. — to help deliver their message over the Web.
Jim Walsh, co-founder of the online political advertising firm DSPolitical, said the growth of politicking online is changing how campaigns are run in much the same way as the rise of television did in the middle of the 20th century.
“As more and more eyes are DVR-ing through their TV ads and are not even watching live TV anymore, more and more people are getting their content on the Internet,” said Walsh, whose firm was hired by Sherman to get out his message across the Web. The advertising — including political advertising — has already begun to follow the viewers.
Brian Ross Adams ran Richard Bloom’s successful campaign for California State Assembly, and he chalks up that win, in part, to his use of social media and leveraging online advertising.
Adams said he always responded directly to questions and comments on social media.
“That’s No. 1,” Adams said. “You’ve got to take the time to reply.”
As for online advertisements, data shows people don’t click on ads very often, so Adams chose images that convey a simple message — including for readers of online publications about Jewish life in Los Angeles, such as the this publication’s Web site, jewishjournal.com.
“The last weeks [before Election Day], we were running pictures of Richard, his wife and his dog,” Adams said.
Did it work? Bloom got elected — but that doesn’t mean there’s consensus that the online strategy made the difference.
Sherman adviser Skelton also ran the campaign for then-incumbent Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, who lost to Bloom by less than 1 percentage point; he felt that the negative mail sent by outside groups backing Butler were what pushed Bloom’s candidacy.
“What do you think did more, some online advertising by Bloom?” Skelton asked. “Or agribusinesses spending a couple hundred thousand dollars beating up on Betsy?”
December 12, 2012 | 12:22 pm
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
As the L.A. Times reported, the total spending by Brad Sherman and Howard Berman in their race to represent the new 30th congressional district in the San Fernando Valley broke the record for spending by candidates on a congressional race in California.
Combined, the two candidates spent $11.7 million; Sherman spent $6 million while Berman spent $5.7 million. Add in the $4.5 million in spending by the political parties and outside groups on behalf of the two Democratic incumbents, and the total spending on the race goes up to $16.3 million.
Sherman, who was reelected by a 20-point margin in November, led in the polls throughout, thanks in large part to his having represented the majority of the new district’s voters for the past decade.
Berman, befitting a candidate who was better known for his fundraising prowess than he was known by the voters in the 30th district, outspent Sherman by $1.3 million in advance of the June primary election.
Sherman won that open primary by 10 points. Then, in the months leading up to the head-to-head contest in November, he outspent Berman by $1.6 million.
The numbers are staggering. The L.A. Times offered the context of the race in 2000 that used to hold the record as the one in which California Congressional candidates spent the most:
Spending on the Berman-Sherman race surpassed the $11.5-million record for a California House race, set in 2000 when Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) ousted Republican incumbent James E. Rogan. But there was more outside spending -– an estimated $7.5 million -- by the political parties and interest groups in the 2000 race. The race between Berman and Sherman, both Democrats, drew $4.5 million in outside spending.
And consider the spending in the 30th district on a per-voter basis: For each of the district’s roughly 400,000 registered voters, the campaigns and their allies spent about $40.80 apiece.
Only 62 percent of registered voters cast ballots in November, so for each of those 248,000 votes, the Berman or Sherman campaigns spent $24 in the five months prior to the election. The cost-per-vote could be said to have been even higher for the primary, when only 19 percent of the electorate turned out to cast ballots. (Campaigns, like most enterprises, have higher start-up costs, so the sum spent by the campaigns in advance of the primary -- $79 per vote cast in June -- is not actually all that helpful.)
Where did all that money go? How much of it was spent on campaign literature in mailboxes, ads on cable TV and at least a few billboards? How much went to consultants of various types? On credit card fees to process donations? On air travel?
That’s a topic for another post.
November 12, 2012 | 11:22 pm
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
Rep. Brad Sherman has been named to the Forward 50, the newspaper’s annual list of “American Jews who made the most significant impact on the news in the past year.”
By that measure – impact on the news – there’s no question that Sherman deserves to make the list, though I’d wonder if an equally strong case couldn’t be made for the man he bested in last week’s election, Rep. Howard Berman. Did Sherman somehow bear primary responsibility for ensuring that every national news outlet worth a damn checked in on this race at least once? With one notable exception (Pierce College, where it was Sherman’s outburst made the news), it’s hard to say.
But that’s not how people read these lists, of course. It’s less “Sherman’s a newsmaker!” and more, “Here’s his name, right alongside Eric Cantor, Jack Lew, Dan Senor and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Brad Sherman must be a power broker among Jews!”
That latter statement might still turn out to be true, of course -- particularly if Sherman manages to win another contest against yet another bald, bespectacled Jewish incumbent Democrat. Sherman and Rep. Eliot Engel (D – NY) are both vying for Berman’s former position as ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
But does the way he beat Berman alone qualify Sherman for giant-killer status, as the Forward would have its readers believe? I’m not sure. Sherman always had a lead in the race and was always better known in the district. He also started off the race with far more cash on hand than Berman had.
Of course, no reader could discern any of those facts from the profile of Sherman in the Forward. Instead, Sherman was “left for dead” when the race began, until, somehow, he “defied a fundraising deficit and an embarrassing viral video to pull off a convincing victory.”
Chanukah is coming, so I guess some Maccabee-style myth-creation isn’t an awful activity to engage in. But this hagiographic profile is chock full of unsubstantiated claims.
“Sherman shouldn’t have had to fight for his spot in Congress,” the Forward opines, as if the months of speculation and posturing that preceded this race (Brad, move to Ventura! No, Howard, you go!) never took place, as if California’s new independent redistricting commission hadn’t been specifically instructed to ignore incumbency when drawing the district where Sherman ultimately won.
(Which isn’t to suggest that Berman shouldn’t have bowed out before the race: There are more than 11 million good reasons why doing so might have been a good idea.)
“The tone of the campaigns grew increasingly bitter in early fall,” the Forward’s bio continues, neglecting to mention that from the campaign’s earliest moments, Sherman was on the attack, with Berman looking flat-footed at best.
But the kicker doesn’t come until the penultimate paragraph:
“Sherman also suffered from a decision by pro-Israel donors to side with his opponent,” the Forward writes. “Experts said this was because of a perception that the older congressman had more D.C. clout.”
From the way he ran his campaign, you'd be hard-pressed to imagine Sherman himself making the argument that he had as much "D.C. clout" as Berman. Sure, Sherman tried to raise questions about how much credit Berman could claim for some of his achievements (the Dream Act) and take partial credit for others (the 405 expansion). But the overall message of Sherman’s own campaign was not that he was more powerful or influential than his more senior colleauge. Sherman presented himself as the Congressman constituents in the district knew and successfully painted Berman as a stereotypical D.C. insider, busy flying around the world on the taxpayers’ dime to meet the leaders of nations and their emissaries. That's how he won.
But the more basic problem with that sentence is this: In politics, the perception that a lawmaker has “D.C. clout” is almost identical to his having that clout.
Now: In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Forward staff is working under remarkable duress, so we probably should cut them some slack, maybe even shoot them a donation. This blogger has no quibble with the rest of the folks on the list – the other politicos on are all undisputedly in possession of some serious “D.C. Clout.”
But that one question nags: Who are the Forward’s “experts?” I don’t know, but one thing’s for sure; they’re probably just as happy with this year’s list of 50 as they are with the result in California’s 30th Congressional District.
November 7, 2012 | 2:46 pm
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
I don't usually post press releases, but this one seemed somewhat telling, so I thought I'd share it. It comes from the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), which "maximizes Jewish support for Democrats at the federal and state levels of government."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 7, 2012
CONTACT: David Streeter
NJDC Reacts to Berman/Sherman Result
WASHINGTON, DC - The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) reacted to Representative Howard Berman's defeat and Representative Brad Sherman's win in California's 30th Congressional district. NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris said:
"One of the unfortunate truths of the congressional race in California's 30th District that we've known all along is that no matter which Democrat wins, one good Democratic representative will not return to Capitol Hill -- and the House of Representatives will lose a good Jewish Democrat. The National Jewish Democratic Council is saddened by the news that Representative Howard Berman will indeed not be returning to the House of Representatives for another term -- even as we congratulate Representative Brad Sherman on tonight's win. We very much look forward to continuing our close relationship with Rep. Sherman as he returns to Capitol Hill.
"As a Jewish Democrat, Berman has long been a champion for policies supported by the sweeping majority of American Jews -- especially regarding support for Israel and stopping Iran's nuclear program. Berman was also a friend of NJDC's and his powerful voice in Congress will surely be missed. We wish Berman the best of luck in his future endeavors."
November 7, 2012 | 7:12 am
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
Rep. Brad Sherman won reelection by a large margin over fellow incumbent Democrat Rep. Howard Berman on Election Day, taking 60 percent of the votes cast in the new 30th district.
The results took time to trickle in, leaving both candidates to give noncommittal speeches on Tuesday night to their supporters, but by 2 a.m., Berman had conceded in a statement that congratulated Sherman for becoming the next congressman for the 30th Congressional district and also hailed Los Angeles City Councilman Tony Cardenas, who won election by a huge margin to become the first Latino Congressman from the San Fernando Valley
[Related: Sherman v. Berman: counting the wins, losses]
When all the results were tallied, about 178,000 votes had been cast, just over 46 percent of registered voters in the district. About 50 percent of registered voters turned out to the polls across L.A. County on Election Day, suggesting that either the turnout was lower in the new 30th district, or some small percentage of those voters simply declined to choose either Berman or Sherman.
Sherman’s margin of victory was sizable, with the 60 percent to 40 percent final result looking very much like the internal polls released by the Sherman campaign throughout this long and bitter Democrat-versus-Democrat race.
November 5, 2012 | 8:45 am
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
As is to be expected when two incumbents with more than 40 combined years in office face off against one another, a lot of the back and forth in the campaign between Rep. Brad Sherman and Rep. Howard Berman has focused what each has done in the past.
But what would each of these Democratic congressmen do if reelected to serve another two-year term?
The Journal asked the two campaigns for statements from the Congressmen about what their top three priorities would be for the coming Congress. The answers, while similar in some ways, are illustrative of the differences between these two relatively liberal Democratic Congressmen.
The full statements from each campaign appear below, but here’s a summary of the similarities and differences between them.
Berman and Sherman both offer up some of the same priorities – getting Americans back to work and keeping the U.S.-Israel relationship strong, particularly by instituting and enforcing sanctions against Iran intended to stop the regime from going nuclear.
But the way each Congressman talks about how he’d achieve these goals is indicative of some of the differences between Berman and Sherman that have emerged over the course of this campaign.
While Sherman’s methods for creating jobs in the Valley would be to reintroduce President Obama’s American Jobs Act (which was stopped by Republicans in Congress in 2011) and the Capital Access for Small Business and Jobs Act (which was introduced by Rep. Peter King [R – NY] with Sherman as an original co-sponsor, but which hasn’t made it out of committee), Berman’s statement points instead the importance of “making it easier for American companies to do business overseas” in order to grow jobs in the San Fernando Valley.
And if Berman talks about defending the U.S.-Israel relationship by increasing funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile shield program along with “a new tightening of Iran sanctions,” Sherman focuses solely on “ratcheting up the pressure on Iran.”
That difference has everything to do with President Obama (who at the end of last month signaled his support for Berman in the race). Berman was present when Obama signed the last round of Iron Dome funding earlier this year, which may help to explain why he has an affinity for the missile shield; Sherman, meanwhile, has hammered Berman repeatedly in the past few years over what he saw as the more senior congressman’s support for the Obama administration’s decision to delay the imposition of Iranian sanctions (in an effort, Obama and Berman have argued, to bring China and Russia on board with those measures).
Perhaps most interesting, however, are the subjects that each candidate mentions that the other one ignores. Third on Sherman’s list of priorities is an issue that is sure to hit close to home for voters in the new 30th Congressional district – improving the Valley economy by taking steps to “grow and protect home values for middle class families.” To achieve this goal, Sherman, a former CPA, will take steps to make it easier for homeowners in “high-cost areas” like the Valley to get a mortgage and will “continue to strongly support preserving the current tax deduction for mortgage interest.”
If Sherman focuses narrowly on the issues likely to matter most to his constituents in the Valley, though, Berman takes on a broader challenge. Topping his list is what many -- particularly those in Washington, D.C. -- call the biggest challenge facing this increasingly polarized country: finding a “grand bargain” between the President and Congress to allow the United States to address its growing debt while also preparing the country for another generation of innovation and growth without harming the lagging economic recovery or decimating the social safety net.
Both candidates’ statements appear in full below.
Sherman’s list of priorities:
1) Jobs: My top priority will continue to be working with the President and leaders in Congress to create jobs in the Valley. I look forward to helping reintroduce President Obama’s jobs plan, the American Jobs Act, in the 113th Congress, just as I helped introduce the American Jobs Act of 2011 (H.R. 12) in this Congress.
I’ll work to temporarily increase spending on programs to provide job training and placement services for the unemployed, as well as additional healthcare, unemployment insurance, and financial assistance for struggling families.
I also favor making changes in federal tax policy that will encourage job creation while ensuring fairness for all taxpayers and revenue adequate to meet our needs. That includes reducing the tax burden on working families while generating new revenues from high-income earners who have benefitted from a decade of favorable treatment and have the ability to do more today.
To further ensure that our local businesses have the resources they need to expand and hire new workers, I am looking forward to reintroducing my bill, the Capital Access for Small Business and Jobs Act, which I introduced with Rep. Peter King (R-NY) earlier this year. This bill would give credit unions the ability to access supplemental forms of capital, which would allow financially healthy credit unions to increase lending and make additional capital available to small businesses.
2) Ratcheting up the pressure on Iran: If reelected, one of my top legislative priorities in foreign policy would be to vastly tighten pressure on Iran’s regime and economy.
While the sanctions enacted to date have led to a plunge in the value of Iran’s currency and a significant decrease in oil production and exports by Tehran, we must do more immediately given the urgent threat posed by Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
I look forward to working with the Administration and bipartisan leaders in Congress to pass tough new provisions to further tighten pressure on Tehran, including those in the Iran Financial Sanctions Improvement Act that I introduced with Mark Kirk earlier this year.
3) Improving the Valley economy: In addition to creating more jobs, the most important steps we can take to support our local economy is help Valley businesses grow and protect home values for middle class families. That is why I will continue to lead the fight to increase the “conforming loan limit” in the Valley and other high-cost areas, and work to pass bipartisan legislation to increase small business’ access to capital.
Before I successfully helped pass the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, the national single-family conforming loan limit – the maximum size of the mortgage loans that Fannie and Freddie could buy – was $417,000, even in high-cost areas such as the San Fernando Valley. Thanks to a provision in this bill that I first proposed in 2002, the single-family conforming loan limit and the FHA loan limit in high-cost areas was permanently increased to $625,500.
In addition, I helped pass the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, which included a temporary increase to $729,750 for high-cost areas in 2008, which was subsequently continued for 2009, 2010 and most of 2011. I also helped pass legislation last year that extended the higher $729,750 FHA limit until December 31, 2013. I will continue the fight to preserve these provisions, which help create jobs and support the economy in the San Fernando Valley. Homeowners who save hundreds of dollars each month are good customers for local Valley businesses.
Finally, I will continue to strongly support preserving the current tax deduction for mortgage interest. Various tax proposals to eliminate this critical deduction would saddle middle-class Californians with a huge tax increase, and could cause home prices to fall even further -- a disaster for the Valley economy. This will remain a critical issue as Congress debates reforming our tax code over the next several years, and I will never stop fighting to maintain the tax deduction for mortgage interest.
Berman’s list of priorities:
1. The overriding challenge for the lame duck session, for the next Congress and the President is to summon up the wisdom, the courage, and flexibility to reach a grand bargain to confront the massive debt, the lagging economic recovery, the demographic challenges to our safety net and the investments needed to continue to lead the world in innovation and productivity. Neither party will be able to ram through its agenda and we must fashion a bipartisan compromise to ensure America's leadership in the world. This is my highest priority, and I have the commitment, the skill and the track record to help make that happen.
2. I have been widely recognized as one of Congress' most steadfast defenders of the U.S.-Israel Relationship. In the next Congress I aim to continue my work to ensure the Israel's security remains a paramount national security concern of the United States Government. This means more funding for Israel's “Iron Dome” to protect Israeli citizens and a new tightening of Iran sanctions. Our existing sanctions are working, but more needs to be done and we are already busy drafting new legislation.
3. Jobs. As the former Chairman and now top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, making it easier for American companies to do business overseas has been one of my top priorities. This is especially critical here in the Valley, where much of our nation's high-tech and defense industries are based. That's why I've already introduced and will pass, export promotion reform bills for green and dual-use technologies to help create jobs here in the San Fernando Valley.