Indian American Mark Their Presence Beyond Congress
Indian American lawmakers brought the community and national concerns to the fore and made a lasting impact in 2019.
The House quartet of Raja Krishnamoorthi, Pramila Jayapal, Ami Bera and Ro Khanna and Sen. Kamala Harris, all Democrats, spoke out powerfully against President Trump’s tough immigration policies.
The fierce 5 upbraided President for his "irresponsible" government shutdown, the longest in US history, over his cherished border wall, with Krishnamoorthi even forgoing his salary in solidarity with furloughed workers. All the 4 House members voted for Trump’s impeachment over the Ukraine affair.
Looking at Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu American elected to the
"The first-ever member of the US Congress to take the oath on the Bhagavad Gita," proclaimed by her campaign.
Chennai, India-born Jayapal, who came to America as a 16-year-old in 1982, even chose to rub the country of her heritage the wrong way.
Vowing to continue to speak on the human rights situation in India, she also criticized India’s new controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.
First elected in 2012, the longest-serving Indian American in the House is also a past chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans. She also led a bipartisan effort to delay the reimposition of a $500 annual health insurance tax until after 2021.
New Delhi born Krishnamoorthi, whose Tamil speaking family moved to the US when he was just 3 months old, was an original co-sponsor of The Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act, or Green Card Equality Act.
Hailing the July passage of the bill to end the 7 percent country cap on H-1B visas, Krishnamoorthi said, "This legislation will keep families together while helping American companies retain top talent."
Named chairman of the House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, he became the first-ever member of South Asian descent to chair a Congressional panel and also a member of a key US House committee handling intelligence-related issues and a Democratic assistant whip.
In February, the Illinois legislator led a bipartisan effort to ensure that 129 detained Indian students of the fake Farmington University were treated properly and given all legal rights.
A son of Punjabi Indian immigrants, Khanna too is of the strong view that, "We are a nation of immigrants," and, "Nothing any administration does will change that."
He currently sits on the House Budget, Armed Services, and Oversight and Reform committees, and is 1st vice-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He also serves as an Assistant Whip for the Democratic Caucus and is co-chair for Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign.
He won appreciation for the release of an Internet Bill of Rights and a set of consumer data privacy regulations principles.
In a first for an Indian American lawmaker, Khanna, a member of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, also joined the Congressional Pakistan Caucus in August to serve as a bridge between the 2 South Asian warring neighbors.