First Indian American woman in congress Pramila Jayapal’s first 100 days in U.S. Congress

Pramila Jayapal

While Rep. Pramila Jayapal ranks 407th in House seniority, she’s getting more media attention than usual in her first 100 days.

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Seattle’s Rep. Pramila Jayapal made history by becoming the first Indian American woman to ever get elected to U.S Congress and now she’s getting all kinds of attention just within her first 100 days. Congressional newcomers rarely receive much press and media attention, but this hasn’t been the case with Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a freshman Democrat from Washington who will conclude her first 100 days on Thursday.

Just three days after her official swearing-in on Jan. 3, Jayapal made national headlines when she objected to the Electoral College results that officially certified President Donald Trump’s election. Vice President Joe Biden prompted cheers when he cut her off, telling Jayapal: “It is over.”

“I knew I was going to be shut down,”Jayapal told the Miami Herald. “I heard the whole chamber laughing. I heard the Republicans. … It didn’t phase me. There was a point to be made. It energized and mobilized progressives across the country who desperately wanted people in Congress to speak out.”

Two weeks after that, she got a bit more attention when she skipped the inauguration of President Donald Trump, saying she couldn’t bear to watch after he had “vilified” immigrants, including herself. And when Trump’s travel ban went into effect on Jan. 28, she traveled to Sea-Tac International Airport and demanded to meet with customs and border protection officials, banging on the door until someone came out to talk.

In December, the Hill, a Capitol Hill publication, named Jayapal as one of the 10 freshmen to watch in the new Congress.

Jayapal yields no real power in Congress with Republican control, and she ranks 407th in Congressional seniority. There are 435 members. And her backers said she has delivered, thus far.

“When Democrats in the House have few official levers to use, she’s used the megaphone and organizing potential in an exceptionally effective way, to rally the troops, rally her colleagues, get to demonstrations, get in the media,” said Deepak Bhargava, head of the Center for Community Change, a group that works on immigration and other issues affecting low-income people and minorities.

Republicans have been unimpressed, comparing her to the congressman she replaced, Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott.

“It doesn’t seem that Congresswoman Jayapal has done very much to distinguish herself from the divisive politics of her predecessor,” said Lori Sotelo, chairman of the King County Republican Party.

Jayapal has taken to calling herself “the anti-Trump” after Crosscut, a digital news site, first described her in November as “an antidote to Trump.”

“Some people have called me the anti-Trump, and I’m so proud,” she said at a town hall meeting in Seattle last month.

Jayapal said she represents “the exact people that Trump is gunning for,” including immigrants, minorities and women. She said Trump “just can’t stop lying” and wants to divide Americans with “xenophobic policies.” She called one of the president’s top advisers, Stephen Bannon, a “white supremacist.” The vice ranking member of the House Budget Committee, she called the White House spending plan “the billionaire’s budget.”

Information from the Miami Herald contributed to this report.

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