Coronavirus: Indian-American Ro Khanna joins White House COVID-19 advisory council
Ro Khanna is the only Indian-American lawmaker to be named to the White House's Opening Up America Again Congressional Group.
Indian-American Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna has been appointed to the White House coronavirus advisory council to combat the deadly disease in the US, which has seen a record number of deaths in the past two days. So far, the country has reported over 33,200 deaths with 671,425 positive cases.
Khanna, 43, is the only Indian-American lawmaker to be named to the White House's Opening Up America Again Congressional Group which comprises Congressmen from both the Republican and the Democratic parties.
The first meeting of the group was held on Thursday over a phone call.
The dialogue included a range of topics, namely the need for additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Programme, the international and domestic supply chains, ways to energise the economy, surprise medical billing, clarifying the difference between essential and non-essential workers, mental health, and relief for small businesses, the White House said in a readout of the call.
Additionally, the group discussed the rapidly expanding access to COVID-19 diagnostic and antibody tests, ventilators, face masks, and other PPE kits.
Congress has passed 3 stimulus packages but what are we doing for the half million Americans who are homeless on any given night?— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) April 16, 2020
Our COVID-19 response should include PPE for shelters & temporary housing so that nobody has to sleep outside during this crisis.
We are paying the price for our underinvestment in science, our reliance on foreign medical suppliers, and our insufficient preparation for any kind of global pandemic.— Rep. Ro Khanna (@RepRoKhanna) April 16, 2020
⁰Silicon Valley has the tools to reshape the American economy. It’s time we put them to use. pic.twitter.com/zoZ6j4WfEN
President Donald Trump was pleased to hear such positive feedback from the members about the work that the administration is doing to keep America healthy and prosperous, and thanked them for their participation, it said.
Khanna said that as a member of the Council, he will continue to fight to get working class Americans the relief they need to make it to the other side of COVID-19.
The 60 million Americans at work right now need our full support.— Rep. Ro Khanna (@RepRoKhanna) April 16, 2020
Hazard pay, paid sick leave, and no-cost health care.
That should be our baseline right now.
"I will call for massive investment in advanced manufacturing, in innovative scientific advancement, and in smart technology,” he said.
"Already, we have seen that America was too dependent for crucial medical equipment and electronics on China, Germany and other nations. Like Eisenhower did during the Cold War, we can reshape the future of American industry to rebuild our economy if we harness the power of American innovation," Khanna said.
The American people need action, support, and direction from the federal government. The Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Programme just ran out of the funds to keep Main Street afloat. Millions of Americans are filing for unemployment every week, he said.
"That's why I, along with several of my Democratic colleagues, decided to accept President Trump's invitation to serve on the White House coronavirus advisory council," he added.
Khanna, represents California's 17th Congressional District, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, and is serving in his second term.
Prior to serving in Congress, Khanna taught economics at Stanford University, law at Santa Clara University, and American Jurisprudence at San Francisco State University. He has also worked as a lawyer.