First ever Indian-American chair of subcommittee, other appointments in the making

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Congressman Raja Krishnamoorth, D-Illinois, the first U.S. Representative of South Asian descent to chair a congressional committee or subcommittee, stands in front of the portrait of Congressman Dalip Singh Saund, D-California, the first Member of Congress of Indian-American descent. (Photo: courtesy Rep. Krishnamoorthi)

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois, was named today, as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy.

This makes Krishnamoorthi the first ever member of Indian-American and South Asian descent to chair a congressional committee or subcommittee.

“I am honored and privileged to become the first ever South Asian-American to serve as a chair in Congress,” Krishnamoorhti said in a statement. “As a child, I had the opportunity to see my parents work hard to achieve the American Dream of a middle-class life. As Chairman, I will use my role on this subcommittee to grow and strengthen the middle class so that all Americans can have the same opportunities my family did.”

As chair of the subcommittee, Krishnamoorthi has jurisdiction over important pocketbook issues, his office said. Issues that impact education, workforce development, income inequality, health care, consumer protection and data privacy. Last year, he successfully pushed through a bill on skills training that became law.

Earlier on Jan. 16, Krishnamoorthi was appointed by the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to serve on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which is tasked with overseeing the activities and budget of the 17 intelligence agencies in the United States.

“The intelligence challenges and international threats facing our country today are vast, ranging from terrorism to cyberwarfare to investigating Russia’s previous, and continuing attempts to sabotage our democracy,” Krishnamoorthi said in a statement.

Krishnamoorthi is one of four Indian-American lawmakers in the House. The others are also being assigned committee and subcommittee positions since the Democratic majority Congress began the 116th Session earlier this month.

Among some of the other appointments are — Rep. Ro Khanna, D-California, who represents Silicon Valley, was today, made a member of the House Armed Services subcommittees on Intelligence and Emerging Threats, and Strategic Forces, as well as the Oversight subcommittees of Government Operations and Economic Policy.

“I look forward to using these assignments to spark discussions around how we are going to grow the digital economy, forge a progressive foreign policy, hold the administration accountable and modernise government technologies,” Khanna said in his statement.

Despite being a Democrat, Khanna has supported President Trump’s decision to pull out of Syria and Afghanistan. Khanna’s bill relating to modernizing government technologies, H.R. 5759, was made into law at the end of the 115th Session of Congress Dec. 20 – The 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience (IDEA) Act. His first major legislative achievement benefits veterans — The Veteran Apprenticeship and Labor Opportunity Reform (VALOR) Act which was signed into law by the President in November 2017.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington, serves on the Budget and Judiciary committees and is co-chair of the Progressive Caucus in the House and also chair of the Medicare-for-all Caucus.

In the 115th Congress, Rep. Ami Bera, D-California, is a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and was the ranking member in the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

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