US-India Global Review

21 US-INDIA GLOBAL REVIEW JANUARY-MARCH 2018 exponentially even since as recently as 2000. This November 8 marked a year into office for four of the five lawmakers - Reps. Bera, Khanna, Jayapal, and \Krishnamoorthi. Halfway into their two-year terms, each of these lawmakers has made a mark on the national scene, introducing legislation, tak- ing strong stands on major nation- al issues like healthcare, immigra- tion, homeland security, tax reform, and rules governing Internet and communications. A couple of them are ranking mem- bers in committees, and even vice chairs in Congressional caucuses. They are all members of the Congressional Caucus for India and Indian-Americans. They keep in close touch not just with their constituents, but rally together on issues that come up from time to time affecting the Indian-American community in particularly, and India, such as the Feb. 22, shoot- ing death of Indian techie Srinivas Kochibothla in Olathe, Kansas by a white man. Some of them have visited India within the year, and all of them are pleased in general with growing bilateral relations with New Delhi in both Democratic and Republican administrations. As they gear up for their re-election campaigns, News India Times asked them to reflect on the past year, their biggest achievements, issues that most concern them, matters impacting the Indian- American community, and the bilateral relations with India. Three of them responded via email. Rep. Bera preferred a telephone inter- view. Below are their responses to some questions. Congressman Ami Bera, D-California Compromise Is Not A Bad Thing 1. What do you consider your main achievement in first the year since you were elected and why? I consider my biggest achieve- ment and what I am most proud of is being the founder of the Problem Solvers Caucus when in my first term when it grew to 100 members. It's starting to have an impact. If we want Congress to work, it’s going to take Democrats and Republicans coming together. On the Indian-American side, when I was first sworn in, I set a goal to elect five Indian- Americans in the next decade. It took only four years for that to happen. I can't take credit for the victories of Raja, Pramila, or Ro, or Kamala Harris, but what we can all do is be role models for those running in elections around the country. We all have a respon- sibility to be role models. 2. What is your approach to dealing with the Trump admin/GOP majorities in all branches of government and how have you cooperated with the majority and what have been the results? Early on, we sent a message to the Trump administration to focus on issues that unite the country, like passing an infrastructure bill. President Trump chose not to do that, and instead went in a very divisive direction. That has forced us to defend issue like immigra- tion, where we value immigrants and their contributions. America is a nation of immigrants, one gener- ation after another who bring their culture, their religion, their ethnici- ty and their heritage, all woven together. That’s the strength of America. We will continue to send a message to the Trump Administration about uniting us, but that is not the direction he wants to go in right now. 3. How do you see the future of the Congressional actions in the coming year? Apart from any other issues that you iden- tify, could you talk about hate crime, DACA and healthcare as you see it. Unless President Trump and Republicans in Congress decide to work with us, you will continue to see dysfunction. For instance on health care reform – there are only two Democratic doctors in Congress – and Republicans chose not to talk to either of us on Congresswoman Ami Bera