Indian American Raja Krishnamoorthi vows to restore oversight of administration, if Democrats win House

Raja Krishnamoorthi

Krishanamoorthi says he is seeking a “contract extension” from constituents of his district for another two years.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, who is running for reelection from the 8th congressional district of Illinois, said he is seeking a “contract extension” from constituents of the suburban Chicago district based on his “accomplishments” in the first two years in office.

In an interview with the American Bazaar on Tuesday, the Indian American congressman listed those accomplishments, which include authoring 14 pieces of legislation, six of which have been signed into law, “all of them bipartisan.”

“I have about 750,000 constituents and I like to say I am seeking a contract extension from them to be re-elected for two years,” he said in the phone interview on Friday.

Krishnamoorthi’s main opponent is Jitendra “JD” Diganvker, also an Indian American.

The congressman said his campaign is not leaving anything for chance, even though various foresters have predicted an easy victory for him.

The popular polling aggregation website puts the chance for Krishnamoorthi’s victory at 99.9 percent.

“I appreciate what they are saying, but I’m not relying on predictions,” he said. “I’m working all the way through the Election Day.”

About Diganvker, a businessman, the congressman said it’s a “good thing” that more members of the Indian American community are running for office.

“I encourage people to run for office all the time,” he said. “I just never thought that I would be running against a fellow Indian American. But that’s okay, that’s democracy. Everybody is entitled to participate in any manner they wish.”

Krishnamoorthi, 45, said the Indian Americans in the district “are handling it well,” adding “We’ll see what the entire district has to say on Tuesday, November 6th.”

The congressman, who was first elected from the predominantly Democratic 8th district in 2016 with 57 percent of the vote, also spoke about the prospects of other Indian Americans on ballot this Tuesday.

Besides Krishnamoorthi and three other incumbents — California Democrats Ami Bera and Ro Khanna and Pramila Jayapal of Washington State — more than half a dozen Indian American candidates are seeking to enter US House for the first time. They include Democrats Hiral Tipirneni and Anita Malik in Arizona, Sri Preston Kulkarni in Texas, Aftab Pureval in Ohio, Chintan Desai in Arkansas and Sanjay Patel in Florida.

READ: What are the chances of Indian American candidates in the midterm? (November 2, 2018)

Krishnamoorthi said he is hoping that the ranks of the so-called “Samosa caucus” — Indian American congressmen — will swell on November 6th, as a bunch of candidates across the country has legitimate chance to win. Tipirneni, Kulkarni and Pureval are in competitive races.

“I am looking forward to Tuesday, and I am looking forward to additional samosas,” he said jokingly.

Restoring oversight

In the interview, the congressman also spoke about the party’s chances of recapturing the House and the likely agenda if that becomes a reality.

Like his own race, Krishnamoorthi said he was cautiously optimistic about the Democratic victory. When pointed out that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had predicted such a scenario on Tuesday, he said that he didn’t want “to make political predictions any more after what happened in November 2016.”

He was referring to a string of opinion polls that had predicted a victory for the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election against Donald Trump.

“But I do think that if we put our head down and make sure that everyone turns out — that’s really the key — we should have a good night across the country,” Krishnamoorthi said. “There is a lot of energy at the grassroots level.”

If Democrats win, the party will restore oversight of the Trump administration, he added.

Krishanmoorthi, a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said the committee, currently controlled by the Republicans, “unfortunately has earned the name ‘lack of oversight committee,’ given its silence regarding a lot of issues that have happened during the Trump administration.”

Krishanmoorthi said people are concerned that the current Republican-dominated Congress is not doing its job. “Congress has been almost totally silent” with regard to oversight on the administration and the “committee failed to issue any subpoena regarding anything,” he said , adding, “[Therefore] a lot of people, even Republicans are going to be voting for a lot of Democrats so that check and balance is restored.”

RELATED: Raja Krishnamoorthi’s letter leads to White House probe of Jared Kushner (March 27, 2018)

The Democrat said the issues he has been campaigning — healthcare, the Republican tax law passed year, and Trump’s “divisive rhetoric” — are resonating with people.

He said that many Americans feel that the president’s rhetoric is “the source of some of the prejudicial and discriminatory” acts of violence witnessed the country in the past two years.

Krishnamoorthi is currently the ranking member of the Oversight committee’s subcommittee on Healthcare, Benefits, and Administrative Rules, which has jurisdiction over health care policy, administration, and programs, among other areas. If Democrats win the House, he is likely to be the chairman of the subcommittee.

He also spoke about the committee’s agenda, if the party wins the House. “One is that we have to work towards lowering the cost of prescription drugs,” he said. “Secondly, we will see if we can work together regarding the opioid crisis, which really is hurting everybody at this point.”

Krishnamoorthi said the committee will investigate “ethical lapses” and “self-dealing corruption” and “do our part to make sure that the government is running” and restore people’s trust in government.

“I think that there will be investigations, but I want to caution that we won’t be investigating for investigation’s sake,” he said. “We’re not gonna run a bunch of Bengazis. The Bengazi select committee famously found nothing after investigating Hillary Clinton for years.”

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