New York–New York Congresswoman, Carolyn B. Maloney has piloted a bill that aims to secure a federal holiday on Diwali.
Maloney, 75, is chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and former chair of the Joint Economic Committee, the first woman to hold both of these positions. Only 18 women have chaired Congressional committees.
She is most remembered among Indians for a seven-year long battle, before US postal service, in 2016, finally issued a stamp commemorating Diwali.
“I’m very, very happy and excited to be introducing the Deepavali Day Act this week alongside members of the Congressional Indian Caucus, which will enshrine Diwali into law as a federal holiday,” Maloney said at an event at the US Capitol on Wednesday.
She also tweeted 30-minutes of speeches by community leaders to this effect. This had 2,400 retweets at the time of publication.
The legislation is co-sponsored by a number of US lawmakers, including Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi.
Krishnamoorthi has also introduced a resolution in the US Congress recognising the religious and historical significance of Diwali.
Maloney said Diwali this year symbolises the nation’s continuing journey out of the darkness of Covid-19.
For context on stature, Maloney has authored and passed more than 74 measures, either as stand-alone bills or as measures incorporated into larger legislation packages. Twelve of these were signed into law at formal Presidential signing ceremonies.
She is the first woman to represent New York’s 12th Congressional District. The district includes most of Manhattan’s East Side, Astoria and Long Island City in Queens, Greenpoint, Brooklyn as well as Roosevelt Island.
Maloney is a member of the Democratic Party.
She is the author of Rumors of Our Progress Have Been Greatly Exaggerated: Why Women’s Lives Aren’t Getting Any Easier — And How We Can Make Real Progress For Ourselves and Our Daughters, used as a textbook in women’s studies courses.
Other legislations include the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, its reauthorization, and the ‘Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act to make sure all those suffering health aliments associated with 9/11 get the medical care and compensation they need and deserve; the Debbie Smith Act, which increases funding for law enforcement to process DNA rape kits and has been called ‘the most important anti-rape legislation in history;’ and the Credit CARD Act, also known as the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights, which according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), saved consumers more than $16 billion annually since it was signed into law in 2009.