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India-born Pramila Jayapal becomes first South Asian American woman to chair US house

PTI     June 5, 2019

Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal held the Speaker's gavel on Tuesday, becoming the first South Asian American woman to preside over the US House of Representatives.

Jayapal, 53, a Democrat from Washington DC, took to Twitter to share a clip of Tuesday's session where she was seen presiding over the House as a temporary speaker.

In the text that accompanied the clip, Jayapal, who was first elected in 2016, wrote, "Today, I became the first South Asian American woman to preside over the US House of Representatives. Beyond proud to serve in the most diverse Congress in our nation's history and to hold the gavel today."

The 116th Congress broke records with women and lawmakers crossing racial and religious barriers, including an all time high for Asian American lawmakers.

A record number of 17 Asian Americans serve in Congress, with 14 in the House and three in the Senate.

Although Nancy Pelosi has been serving as the Speaker of the House of Representatives since January 2019, members of the majority party in the House periodically take turns to temporarily preside over the chamber.

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