Five Indian Americans on Politico 50 list of 2017

These Indian Americans have been the brains behind pushing or blocking some of the most important political decisions of the year 2017.

Credit: Politico

The Politico Magazine has released its list of 50 most notable individuals who have played a vital role in the policy making in American’s political arena. Branded “50 Ideas Blowing Up American Politics [and the People Behind Them], the list contains five Indian Americans. In other words, 10 percent of the people named are Indian Americans. Here are the five figured on the list:

Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley, who serves as the US Ambassador to UN, was termed “Trump’s foreign policy “Good Cop” by the magazine. Haley, who moved to New York after spending about 12 years in South Carolina politics, is viewed as a perfect Republican presidential candidate. She has emerged as a security blanket for Republicans on Trump administration’s stand on global affairs. Reportedly, the White House sees her role as good cop to Trump’s bad cop.

“There is some value in the administration to having some members of the team be more forceful than others,” Haley’s aide said, Politico reported. “But that doesn’t mean they’re not on the same page.” Politico added that though Haley was not an experienced hand in foreign policy when she joined the office, she has fast emerged as a force at the United Nations and has made her presence felt.

Seema Verma

Seema Verma heads the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a $1 trillion agency that monitors health programs that insure at least 130 million Americans. Politico calls her “The GOP’s Medicaid Rollback Engineer.” Seen as one of the leading experts on state-based health care solutions, Verma’s work goes back over 20 years. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a master’s degree in public health. Thereafter she went to work in the state of Indiana for the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County.

In Indiana, Verma was the architect of the much-heralded healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 in 2015. Indiana’s program has been seen as a leading plan that emphasizes on personal responsibility. It helped to grant a waiver for the state and enabled it to experiment its own type of Medicaid expansion. With her program, the administration plans to give states more control and choice to run Medicaid. Her program in Indiana has become a model plan for the country.

Credit: American Enterprise Institute.

Aparna Mathur

Aparna Mathur is an economic policy scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Her research papers are quoted widely in media and her work is cited in reports to Congress. One of her research areas, Labor Market Outcomes, played a vital role in pushing a six week gender-neutral paid leave. The US is the only developed country with a federal paid parental leave. However, with Ivanka Trump’s push and research from Mathur and Brookings’ Isabel Sawhill, the paid leave was included in the 2018 budget that Trump released in May.

Ivanka Trump praised Mathur and Sawhill for their work, in which Mathur argued that the paid leave would propel the economy by letting women stay in the workforce and would be cost-effective, too.

“Tomorrow AEI-Brookings releases their Paid Family Leave report. It’s time to make America great for working families,” Ivanka Trump had tweeted in June ahead of the report’s release.

Credit: Hogan Lovells

Neal Katyal

Chicago-born Neal Katyal, a former Acting Solicitor General of the United States, is a partner in Washington, DC,-based law firm Hogal Lovells. While including him on the list, Politico called him “The travel ban’s legal nemesis.” He is the main force behind blocking Trump’s “Muslim Ban” in the state of Hawaii. Katyal, who is a law professor at Georgetown University, was principal deputy solicitor general in the Obama administration.

When Trump issued the revised version of his executive order that aimed to ban six predominantly-Muslim countries, Katyal’s arguments convinced a federal judge to block the order nationwide. The 47-year-old Indian American had argued that the administration cannot select people to be excluded from the country because of their religion.

Katyal has been unequivocal in expressing his personal view on the ban. “Regardless of all the arguments that are dancing around in the executive branch right now to try to justify it, it has got its roots in the ugliest parts of human nature,” he said, Politico reported.

Katyal has criticized the president over his “Muslim ban” order.

Credit: Politico.

Neomi Rao

Neomi Rao serves as the director of Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). Politico called her the “Washington’s new regulatory czar”. Many of Trump’s core agendas, for instance, Obamacare repeal, travel ban and border wall with Mexico have been blocked. However, there have been instances where Trump has been successful, for example, in rolling back several of Obama-era rules.

A law professor on leave from George Mason University, Rao has been the main force behind these successful deconstructions. Rao has argued that the president should have the ability to remove the heads of independent agencies.

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