U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal is optimistic that Congress can get things done despite a divided government.
On Jan. 3, the Republicans will take control of the House with a slim majority, while the Democrats keep control of the Senate, also with a slim majority. That could make it difficult to pass any legislation.
But Rep. Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, said there are bills that could gain bipartisan support.
“I’m hopeful we can work through our differences and govern,” the Santa Barbara Democrat told the News-Press Tuesday morning. “As long as we have a willing partner in my colleagues across the aisle in the House, you’ll see us govern.”
Specifically, the congressman said he feels there’s bipartisan support for reauthorizations for the FAA and the farm bill. “Both of those expire this year and need to be reauthorized.
“In addition to those two reauthorizations, Congress has just passed a whole bunch of new extraordinary laws,” Rep. Carbajal said. He added he would work to make certain those laws are implemented.
He cited the Inflation Reduction Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the PACT act to help veterans, the Marine Shipping Reform Act and the CHIPS Act. Legislation also included a new law that protects same-sex and interracial marriages.
“I think this Congress has been one of the most productive Congresses since the ’60s in the number of extraordinary bills,” Rep. Carbajal said.
Congress, though, was not able to pass another bill that Rep. Carbajal supported: codification of Roe v. Wade in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that abortion laws should be left to the states. The bill passed in the House, but there weren’t enough votes in the Senate.
“We’re going to continue to work on that and keep it on the front burner,” Rep. Carbajal said. “There was legislation to bring an amendment to the Constitution, but we know that’s not going to happen with a divided government.”
The congressman also talked to the News-Press about the House’s Jan. 6 Committee and its decision to recommend the Department of Justice file criminal charges against former President Donald Trump. The committee accused Mr. Trump of inciting an insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol.
Rep. Carbajal said it’s up to the Department of Justice to determine if the evidence meets the threshold to indict Mr. Trump. “If it rises to the threshold, then absolutely, but they have to (be the ones to) make that determination. No one’s above the law.”