U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Ro Khanna, both Democrats representing Washington state and California respectively, who were recently re-elected to their second terms with thumping majorities, to leadership positions in the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus.
On November 29th, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) chose their leadership for the 116th Congress and re-elected Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) and elected Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) as Co-Chairs. Additionally, the CPC elected Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17) as First-Vice Chair.
In the House, where the Democrats regained their majority with several new members elected, comprised a diverse group of left-of-center progressives, the CPC is expected to exercise significant influence within the Democratic Caucus.
The new CPC, established in 1991, with a mission to “reflect the diversity and strength,” of the U.S. and “to give voice to the needs and aspirations of all Americans” and to “build a more just and humane” society, will have more than 90 members in the new Congress.
Its four core principles are fighting for “economic justice and security for all; protecting and preserving civil rights and civil liberties, promoting global peace and security; and advancing environmental protection and energy independence.”
“I’m excited to welcome Rep. Jayapal as a Co-Chair of the Caucus and with progressives in Democratic leadership, we will continue to advance our ideas and shape policies that make a lasting and positive difference on the lives of the American people,” Pocan said in a press statement. He said that “the American people sent a Blue Wave powered by progressives to Capitol Hill and we fully intend to respect the electorate’s decision by presenting a bold, forward-looking agenda.
Jayapal, the first Indian American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, declaring that she “is humbled and honored” to be elected co-chair, said she was “committed to ensuring our caucus is as bold and strategic as possible, and that our members have the resources and the ability to stand up for the chance for every American to have real opportunity, to take on the largest corporations and special interests who have corrupted our democracy and to bring real power to workers, women, immigrants and all of those most vulnerable and marginalized.”
Meanwhile, Khanna, who has worked closely with Jayapal in the last Congress on progressive issues, said, “I’m proud to be elected by colleagues today as the next CPC vice chair. I look forward to working with Co-Chairs Pocan, Jayapal and all my colleagues to advance a progressive agenda in Congress.”
In a recent interview, Khanna when asked how often he interacts with the rest of the ‘Samosa Caucus,’ as Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D.-Ill.) affectionately refers to the four Indian American members in the House that also includes the senior-most Indian American Rep. Ami Bera (D.-Calif.), re-elected for a fourth term, said, “She’s the leader of the Progressive Caucus. I would say that she is one of the people in the Caucus I would call my closest friend and ally. We have a lot of similarities.”