Honda meets with Obama; Khanna talks small biz

Rep. Mike Honda was among Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus members who met Tuesday with President Barack Obama to discuss immigration reform, diversity in the government and health care reform.

Caucus meets with Obama, Honda at left 7-23-13 (by Pete Souza)“President Obama has always been a leader for the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community, and I greatly appreciate his willingness to hear our concerns on a large number of important issues facing us today,” Honda, D-San Jose, said after the meeting. “He understands the urgency of comprehensive immigration reform, and I am confident that the diversity of the immigrant experience – particularly family reunification – will be respected when a bill is signed into law.”

The White House said Obama thanked the caucus for its support on immigration reform and urged the lawmakers to keep reaching out to their colleagues to get the job done as soon as possible.

The president also told caucus members he’s proud of his efforts to make the executive branch and the federal judiciary more diverse, the White House reported, and caucus members thanked him for more than doubling the number of Asian American/Pacific Islander federal judges currently serving.

They also talked about implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and how nearly two million uninsured AAPI people will have new opportunities for coverage through the health insurance marketplaces created under the law, the White House said. Also, the law’s increased funding for community health centers is helping more AAPI people get culturally and linguistically appropriate and accessible care.

Obama in January endorsed Honda for re-election next year. Meanwhile, Honda’s Democratic challenger, former Obama Administration official Ro Khanna, on Tuesday rolled out a list of more than 30 small-business owners in the 17th Congressional District who have endorsed him.

Ro KhannaKhanna said his priorities for small businesses include providing a tax credit for those in areas with high unemployment and poverty that hire long-term unemployed workers, unemployed veterans and people receiving the federal earned income tax credit; helping businesses navigate federal regulations; increasing access to capital with an eye toward expanding into overseas exports; having experienced business owners mentor new ones; and boosting funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and Small Business Administration.

“My campaign is about bringing the vibrancy and ingenuity of Silicon Valley to Washington. Part of this is recognizing that small businesses play an enormous part in cultivating and sustaining Silicon Valley’s forward thinking culture,” Khanna said in a news release.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.