Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal has been elected as the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), making her one of the most powerful US lawmakers in the 117th Congress.
Jayapal, 55, who was elected on Wednesday, said that the caucus is going to advance racial justice, tackle poverty and inequality and help transform the country.
“As a lifelong organiser, I am honoured that my colleagues have elected me to lead the Congressional Progressive Caucus at this pivotal moment,” Jayapal said soon after her election to this most powerful Congressional Caucus, which is slated to play an influential role during the next Biden Administration.
Joe Biden, 78, is due to take over as the 46th president of the US on January 20.
“We have massive crises knocking at our nation's door, and the work of the Progressive Caucus has never been more important. The American people need Congress to lead with vision, conviction, empathy, and dedication to people and families in every community who are struggling right now,” said Jayapal.
The incoming Executive Board of CPC is made up of 26 members – one Chair, one Deputy Chair, one Whip, two Chair Emeriti, two Special Order Hour Conveners, ten Vice Chairs, one Executive Board Member At-Large and eight Deputy Whips.
The CPC Executive Board is representative of the diversity within the caucus – more than half of Executive Board members are people of colour and more than half are women.
Incoming CPC Deputy Chair Congresswoman Katie Porter said that in 2018, many of her Democratic colleagues and she successfully ran campaigns rooted in progressive values.
“Rather than shying away from our core principles, we embraced them— making it clear that a progressive agenda is not only the right policy for America, but also a winning political message,” she said.
CPC Whip Congresswoman Ilhan Omar said, “we have a unique opportunity to fight for transformative change in the 117th Congress— whether that is addressing the coronavirus pandemic, passing universal healthcare, tackling the climate crisis or reorienting our foreign policy.”
“I look forward to continuing to represent my colleagues in building an effect progressive voting bloc in Congress alongside fearless leaders like Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Katie,” she said.
Among others, Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna has been elected as Deputy Whip, while Congresswoman Rashida Talib as vice-chair for member services.
“We have massive crises knocking at our nation's door and our work has never been more important. It’s time for Congress to act boldly and restore power to where it belongs: with the people,” Jayapal said in a tweet.
I’m so honored that my colleagues have elected me Chair of the Progressive Caucus.
We have massive crises knocking at our nation’s door and our work has never been more important. It’s time for Congress to act boldly and restore power to where it belongs: with the people.— Pramila Jayapal (@PramilaJayapal) December 9, 2020
“Together, our caucus is going to deliver real relief to families, advance racial justice, tackle poverty and inequality, champion climate justice, and help transform this country so working people can finally get ahead. Let’s get to work,” Jayapal said.