Indian-American lawmakers welcomed the leadership of US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, expressing confidence that the two leaders will heal the country, courageously face challenges and build the bruised economy.
During the Presidential Inaugural Committee’s official Asian American inaugural ball, hosted virtually by the leading Indian-American advocacy organisation IMPACT, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois said he is extremely happy that both Mr Biden and Ms Harris are finally able to take over leadership.
Congressman Ro Khanna, who represents California’s 17th Congressional District, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, said he cannot stress “what an amazing moment this is for our community and for the multi-racial democracy in America.”
Congressman Ami Bera, representing California’s 7th Congressional District in the US House of Representatives, said Mr Biden and Ms Harris are humble people who get the importance of this moment in time to heal this country, to bring the nation together and “face with courage the challenges that are ahead of us.”
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said at the AAPI ‘Inaugural Ball: Breaking Barriers’ that she is proud and excited to call Ms Harris the next US Vice President – the first woman, first South-Asian American and the first Black American to ever be elected to this “position of public trust.”
“Today we prove that our democracy still works and that the power always belongs to the people through the power of our vote,” she said at the virtual inaugural ball held on Tuesday, and added that she cannot wait to see the brighter world that “we will build together.”
Indian-American Neera Tanden, nominated by Mr Biden as the Director of Office of Management and Budget at the White House, said she is honored to be part of the Biden-Harris administration.
“I know for many in our community there is so much to be proud of. Not only can we celebrate an incredibly diverse cabinet, but we can also celebrate the fact that we have the first vice president who is of an Asian descent,” she said.
Following the swearing-in of Ms Harris, IMPACT Executive Director Neil Makhija said generations of immigrants came to the US for a better life for their children. “Today, the daughter of an Indian immigrant, who made dosas on the campaign trail, and spoke to her ”chithis” in her nomination speech, took her oath of office as Vice-President of the United States.
“And as Kamala Harris takes her place in the American story, the hearts of her countrymen and women are swelling with pride and hope for the future,” he said, adding that the inauguration of Ms Harris is not only the culmination of an American dream, but “marks the launching of millions of new dreams.”
“Beginning today, a generation of American children will grow up knowing only an Indian-American and Black woman as vice-president of the United States,” he said.
“As Ms Harris has said, she may be the first, but she won’t be the last. And, with her as an inspiration, we look forward to helping the next generation prove her right,” Mr Makhija added.
National, grassroots organisation South Asians for Biden’s National Director Neha Dewan said Mr Biden and Ms Harris are the right leaders for this moment “when we are experiencing multiple, converging crises, and their leadership gives us all hope that we can emerge from this as a stronger country.”
She said the organisation is heartened by the fact that the South Asian community played a critical role in the 2020 election, and looks forward to deepening the community’s engagement in government and politics in the months and years ahead.
With Ms Harris breaking barriers as the first Black and South Asian woman elected to national office, Ms Dewan said “for South Asians who wondered whether this moment could ever be possible, today affirms that America at its best is a land of limitless opportunities.”
Mr Biden has announced a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package to tackle the economic fallout from the pandemic, including direct financial aid to average Americans, support to businesses and to provide a boost to the national vaccination programme.
The US is the worst affected country from the pandemic with over 24,998,975 people hit with the coronavirus.
Some 18 million Americans are still relying on unemployment insurance and some 400,000 small businesses have permanently closed their doors.