Representative-elect Ro Khanna told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview on Monday that he plans to do his part to change the way politics has come to function in Washington D.C., and will focus on putting Americans workers first.
“I want to get special interest money out of politics,” Khanna said. “I want to work on building a caucus where other members don’t take money from PACs. And we have to brand that caucus.”
Khanna said that his intended focus during his first term in Congress will be on bringing manufacturing jobs back to America, removing the influence of special interest groups, and the repatriation of offshore funds back into America.
Khanna defeated fellow Democrat, eight-term incumbent Rep. Mike Honda, by nearly 22 percentage points, following a long and at times tough battle for the 17th Congressional District.
He added that he wanted to eradicate the influence of money from both corporate PACs and union PACs, which typically support the Democratic Party. Further, he said, “we need term limits and I’ll work across the aisle to impose these term limits.” He said he would look to follow California’s model, which allows for two terms in Senate and six terms in the House.
Khanna said he has placed his focus on bipartisan issues that transcend political lines, which is why he says he sees manufacturing as being key to America’s future — so much so that he wrote about a book about it in 2012.
In his book Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still Key to America’s Future, Khanna makes a compelling argument for bringing home those jobs America has lost to overseas competition, and notes: “Despite everything you’ve heard about the economy, one fact remains: America continues to be a world leader in manufacturing.” He adds: “[T]his is entrepreneurial nation.”
The newly-elected congressman said he plans on working towards dropping bad trade deals and currency manipulation, and spreading the innovation of Silicon Valley into the heart of Middle America. “People are upset over jobs and that the system is rigged,” Khanna said. They want to know how “we unrig Congress.”
Khanna, who is of Indian origin, was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in Ohio. “We get the heart and soul of this country is the Midwest,” he said, even though “I’ll be the Democratic congressman from Silicon Valley.”
He added: “We have trillions of dollars offshore and we’ve got to figure out how to bring that money back and reinvest it in jobs here. Let’s reduce the tax to allow them to bring it back. But once they bring it back, they need to use that money to invest into businesses.”
He said he will work towards finding a way to incentivize companies to invest in manufacturing jobs, saying this is an agenda that “transcends partisan politics.”
Like President-elect Donald Trump, Khanna was opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. “I totally opposed TPP. I think that was a bad deal for American workers. It was a bad deal for our manufacturing industry.”
Regarding the rampant abuse and misuse of America’s H1-B visa program, Khanna called for reform in order to ensure it’s no longer being abused by corporations who shove American workers aside to make way for foreign workers willing to take the same positions for far less compensation.
“Of course we want to create jobs,” Khanna said. “But it shouldn’t be at the expense of the American workers.”