Undisputedly the most influential Indian-American Congressional aide in Congress is Rahul 'Richard' Verma, Senior National Security Adviser to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, who is leading the fight in calling for a withdrawal of our troops from Iraq.
Last year, it was Verma, a veteran of the US Air Force, who provided significant counsel to Reid -- then Senate Minority Leader before the Democrats regained control of the Senate and House after 12 years -- on the US-India civilian nuclear agreement that first convinced Reid to support the treaty, then lead the endorsement of the initiative in the Senate.
As the principal national security and foreign policy adviser to Reid, with whom he is seen here, Verma is responsible for setting the national security agenda and developing a legislative strategy in the Senate; act as senior defense and foreign policy liaison to key Senate committees,
the office of the Speaker of the US House of Representatives and the White House.
He is also the point man in terms of communications and political advice to the Majority Leader, Committee chairmen and members of the Democratic Caucus.
His military honors include the Meritorious Service Medal (1998), Air Force Commendation Medal (1996) and the National Defense Service Medal (1994).
|Photo: Jay Mandal /|
From 2004 to November 2006, when the Democrats were in the minority, he performed the same duties for Reid, besides providing considerable political and strategic advice to Democratic Caucus members in advance of the mid-term elections. His association with Reid began in 2002, when he was principal Foreign Policy Adviser and Senior Counsel to the Senator.
Verma, who has Top Secret/Secure Compartmentalized Information security clearance, once told India Abroad, "Every day that I walk into the Capitol, I realize how fortunate I am to hold this position." He is an alumnus of Lehigh University, which he attended on an Air Force ROTC Scholarship and graduated with honors, receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in 1990.
During his senior year, he was class president, American University Law School, from where he graduated cum laude in 1993 and the Georgetown University Law Center, from where he received his LLM with distinction in 1998.