Indian American Lawmakers Assigned to Lead Critical Committees On Capitol Hill

The United States Congress Committee assignments are being announced as the new 117th Congress begins sittings, and among the first few so far are important assignments for the Indian-American lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois has bee appointed to serve as the Ranking Member on the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This is a new committee formed in the 118th Congress for the specific purpose of investigating and developing policy to address the United States’ economic, technological, and security competition with the Chinese Communist Party.

Krishnamoorthi thanked Minority Leader of the House Hakeem Jeffries, D-NY, for selecting him as the senior most member on the Democratic side (Ranking) for the new Committee.

“The Chinese Communist Party poses serious economic and security threats to the United States and to democracy and prosperity across the globe, illustrated by its threats against Taiwan’s democracy, its weaponization of TikTok, and its theft of hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American intellectual property,” Krishnamoorthi is quoted saying in the press release. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in both parties on this committee to counteract the CCP’s escalating aggression and ensure that our nation is prepared to overcome the economic and security challenges that the CCP presents to our country,” he added.

He however drew attention to the anti-Asian hate and violence on the rise, and cautioned policymakers that it needed to protect all Americans, “while avoiding dangerous rhetoric that fuels the types of xenophobia that have endangered members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.”

He appreciated the Republican Chairman of the new Committee, Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, for “repeatedly” demonstrating “his singular focus on the committee’s critical undertaking of readying the United States for all the challenges posed by the Chinese Communist Party,” and was looking forward to working with him.

Krishnamoorthi is also a senior member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, is the lead Democrat on the Averting the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Censorship and Influence, and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party Act (ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act), which protects Americans by blocking and prohibiting all transactions from any social media company in, or under the influence of, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and several other foreign adversaries.

Another Indian-American Congressman, Ro Khanna, D-California, is appointed to the new House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party. Khanna recently authored a piece in Foreign Affairs journal outlining the role that China has played in the deindustrialization of America and his vision to reduce the trade imbalance and lower tensions between the two countries through increasing American production.

In a statement, Khanna said he was honored to be appointed and “look forward to working with Chairman Gallagher, Ranking Member Krishnamoorthi and all of the members on the committee to look seriously at the economic relationship between the United States and China. I plan to use my seat on the committee to bring attention to our trade deficit with China while also working to address the security risk China poses to Taiwan,” Khanna added.

“I take my role as the representative for the only majority Asian American community in the continental United States very seriously. We can be tough on the Chinese Communist Party while unequivocally condemning anti-Asian racism and the increase in hate crimes targeting the Asian American community,” Khanna went on to say. “It is my hope that the work done by this committee will help chart a productive path forward and prevent inflammatory rhetoric, violence, and discrimination,” he said.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington State, the first and only Indian-American woman elected to the lower house, has been reassigned to the powerful House Budget Committee. Jayapal, a champion of immigration, led Democrats in introducing the “Roadman to Freedom” resolution, which she has described as “a visionary north star for immigration reform” according to a press release from her office Jan. 27, 2020.

“While establishing a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million people, this progressive vision signals a strong commitment to transforming the immigration system so it is humane, fair, equitable, and focused on respect, dignity, and family unity,” the press release says.

“As a lifelong immigrant rights organizer who created the largest immigrant rights organization in Washington state before becoming one of only 14 naturalized citizens serving in Congress today, I know that we must do far more than simply reverse the harmful, xenophobic policies of the Trump Administration,” Jayapal is quoted saying in the press release. “Our immigration system has been broken for decades, and with a new president in office, we must finally reform it in a humane way that focuses on respect, dignity, family unity and real opportunity for all immigrants,” she added noting that she will be working with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus to introduce the Roadmap to Freedom.

Congressman Ami Bera, D-California, was named chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation for the 117th Congress. Dr. Bera is the first Indian-American elected since 1957 when Dalip Singh Saund, also of California, was elected to the House of Representatives.

Saying he was honored to be named chair of the subcommittee, Bera noted, “Asia continues to be the most consequential region for American foreign policy, as our economy and national security are intrinsically linked to this region.” Bera was also selected to serve on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Global Human Rights. He also serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Korea and previously chaired the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans.

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