Four Indian-Americans, including two women, elected to House of Representatives and the Senate in the historic US general elections are here for their first official Congressional orientation meeting to find out how they can work collectively to achieve their common goals.
Three of them, Pramila Jayapal from Washington State, Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois and Ro Khanna from California – elected to the House of Representatives – have spent the last two days together. They are not only learning the tricks of the trade at the Capitol Hill, but also figuring out how they can work collectively to achieve their common goals.
The fact that they are all from the same Democratic Party makes their job easier in this regard. But a tougher one given that they are all pitted against a Republican majority in the House. “We have been together for the past 24 hours,” Jayapal told PTI in an interview here. Even the group picture that the first-time lawmakers took outside the Capitol, Jayapal and Khanna are seen standing together.
“I Ro and Raja are all together in orientation,” Jayapal said. Ami Bera, whose counting of votes is still going on, is expected to join them soon, thus increasing the strength of Indian-Americans in the House to four and the Congress to five, adding Kamala Harris from the Senate side.
If re-elected, Bera would become the longest serving Indian-American in the Congress after Dalip Singh Saund, who was elected to the House of Representative thrice in 1956, 1958 and 1960.
“I have not met Kamala Harris. We look forward to that. The Senate does very different orientations. And I understand that there may be some distant relationship between Kamala’s Indian family side and my. So I have to figure out what that is,” Jayapal said.
“It is a great honour. Raja, Ami, Ro and I are talking about how we have our own little South Asian Caucus/India Caucus (in the House), because we are four of us now. So that’s also very exciting. I am thrilled to be serving with all three of them, and thrilled to be the first Indian-American women to be elected to the House of Representatives,” Jayapal said in response to a question.
Krishnamoorthi said the newcomers are “intrigued” as they try to figure out what issues Trump will champion, The Chicago Tribune reported.