5 Indian-American lawmakers get key Congressional panels

Washington (PTI): All five Indian-American lawmakers, the highest in the history of the US Congress, have been nominated to influential Congressional panels.

Congressman Ro Khanna representing Silicon Valley has been nominated to the powerful House Budget Committee, while Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, elected to the House of Representatives from Seattle, would serve on yet another powerful House Judiciary Committee.

Raja Krishnamoorthi, representing Chicago’s west and northwest suburbs, will serve on the House Education and Workforce Committee, along with the powerful House Democratic Policy and Steering Committee.

Three-term Congressman Ami Bera, who is the senior most among all Indian American lawmakers in the House of Representatives, has been renominated to the House Foreign Affairs Committee and House Science, Space and Technology Committee. Bera is also co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans.

Kamala Harris, the first Indian-American to have been elected to the US Senate, has been made member of four powerful Senate Committees. These are Committee on Budget, Select Committee on Intelligence, Committee on Environment and Public Works and Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

“These four committees will be key battlegrounds in the fight for the future of our country. At a time when so many Californians and Americans are uncertain about our future, I will aggressively fight for our families and the ideals of our nation,” Harris said in a statement.

In addition to normal committees, Jayapal will serve as a Senior Whip for the House Democrats and as a Vice Chair for the Congressional Progressive caucus. As a Senior Whip, Jayapal will play a key role in mobilizing her Democratic colleagues, discussing upcoming legislation with them, and coordinating legislative strategy with the leadership.

“I’m pleased to welcome Rep Jayapal to Congress and to my whip team,” said Steny Hoyer, the Democratic Whip in the House of Representatives. “She’s hit the ground running since her arrival, and she’s already hard at work representing the people of Washington’s Seventh District, drawing on her experience as a state legislator and an advocate for social justice,” he said.

As a leader in the progressive Caucus, Jayapal will fight for policy solutions like a USD 15 per hour national minimum wage, comprehensive immigration reform, debt-free college, criminal justice reform, protecting women’s reproductive rights and gun violence reform, a media release said.

In the Judiciary Committee, Jayapal said she looks forward to bringing her passion and experience to immigration reform, real criminal justice reform, women’s reproductive rights, voting rights, and civil liberties,

“In the 115th Congress, I pledge to fight for our progressive values, and block the Trump administration’s plans to deport vulnerable undocumented immigrants, create a Muslim registry and violate our civil rights and civil liberties,” Jayapal said.

Raja Krishnamoorthi, who will serve on the House Education and Workforce Committee along with the powerful House Democratic Policy and Steering Committee, said his committee assignments will focus on job creation and affordable higher education.

The House Democratic Policy and Steering Committee administers the House Democratic Caucus. Krishnamoorthi was appointed to the committee by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. This is the highest number of Indian-Americans in the history of the US Congress.

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