Washington: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and her Democratic congressional colleague Dr Ami Bera have been sworn in for their second consecutive term in the US House of Representatives.
Gabbard, the first ever Hindu lawmaker, took her oath on Gita as the 114th session of the US Congress began yesterday. She was administered the oath of office by the Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner.
Two years ago, she had taken her oath on Gita too, which she presented to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when she met him in New York last September.
Bera, the only serving Indian-American in the current Congress, has been elected as co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans the largest country- specific caucus in the House of Representatives.
After Dalip Singh Thind and Bobby Jindal, Bera is the third ever Indian-American elected to the House of Representatives.
"I'm looking forward to working with my colleagues from both parties over the next two years; together is the only way we can move our country forward. We need to start by rebuilding an economy that works for the middle class, getting our debt under control with a responsible budget, and strengthening Social Security and Medicare for this and future generations, and I will make those my top priorities in this Congress," Bera said.
Bera will continue serving on the House Committees of Foreign Affairs and Science, Space and Technology and as a leader of the Problem Solvers Caucus, made up of members committed to bipartisanship.
Gabbard who just returned from her nearly two-week long India trip, during which she met Modi and top Indian leadership said that her visit was highly successful.
"I feel this trip was a great success," she said.
"I went to India hoping to introduce and familiarise people with Hawaiʻ and to help warm the relationship between our two countries. I think we accomplished both goals, and I am optimistic that there will be increased collaboration between the world's oldest democracy and the world's largest democracy," the Democratic Congresswoman from Hawaii said.
As the 114th Congress kicked off yesterday with swearing in of members, Republicans formally took control of both chambers - the House of Representative and Senate -- for the first time since the 109th Congress (2005-2006).
A new Pew Research Centre study said there is relatively little change in the overall religious makeup of Congress.
More than nine-in-ten members of the House and Senate (92 per cent) are Christian, and about 57 per cent are Protestant, roughly the same as in the 113th Congress (90 per cent and 56 per cent, respectively). About three-in-ten members (31 per cent) are Catholic, the same as in the previous Congress.
Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus combined represent roughly two per cent of American adults and one per cent of Congress.