SBWPC Interview with U.S. Congressman Salud Carbajal – December 3, 2018

Laurie Tumbler and Beverly Herbert


Representative Carbajal was enthusiastic and anxious to share his accomplishments in his first term. He sponsored 17 bills and co-sponsored over 300 bills, of which over 50% were bipartisan.

He secured $2.4 billion to help fight and prevent forest fires and secured funding for 24 Blackhawk helicopters used in fighting wild fires.

As a member of the House Committee on Armed Services, he secured $1 million in Department of Defense grants for UCSB and CalPoly, ensured female service members have adequate body armor suited to fit their bodies and fought transgender discrimination in the military. He also pressed the Department of Defense to expedite legal resident status for immigrants serving in the military.

Below is a a summary of his responses and observations by topic, followed by answers to direct questions.


  • Staff size: 75% of Salud’s staff are female (12 out of 16); 50% are from minority groups. Two women are in his top legislative and communications positions.


  • Successfully included language in FY18 National Defense Authorization Act to require information re: expedited naturalization opportunities for permanent residents serving in the military and assistance with the naturalization process.


  • After Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the “Zero Tolerance” family separation policy, visited Tornillo Detention Facility in Texas to witness DHS and HHS Procedures.
  • Co-sponsored HR 6135 “Keeping Families Together Act,” prohibiting DHS from separating children from parents, except in extraordinary circumstances, limiting criminal prosecution for asylum seekers, and requiring child welfare training for Border Patrol.
  • Offered amendment to ban construction of a Border Wall.
  • Voted to pass appropriations barring funds from being used to detain or deport DACA. recipients; and to increase funding to increase applications and protections for asylum seekers.
  • Co-sponsored “Dream Act 2017” (HR 3440) providing up to 8 years of conditional protected status for those who entered the U.S. at age 17 or younger and are continuously present in the U.S. for 4 years prior to enactment.


  • Co-sponsor of HJ Res “Equal Rights Amendment”- Amending Constitution to assert equal rights of women with men plus co-sponsor of HR 1869 Paycheck Fairness Act, strengthening equal pay provisions.
  • Member of LGBTQ Caucus.
  • Co-sponsor of HR 5682, Legislation to reduce recidivism rate “First Step Act”.


  • Single Payer medical coverage and funding: working across the aisle to help amplify enrollment period for Covered California.
  • Cosponsored ACA Fixes:
  • HR 1307 Public Option Deficit Reduction Act- creates a public insurance option to compete against private insurers and drive down health insurance costs.
  • HR 3258-Marketplace Certainty Act-permanently funds cost-sharing subsidies to reduce out-of-pocket health care costs.
  • HR 173- Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act- Permanently repeals the Cadillac tax, an annual 40% to be paid by insurers on plans with annual premiums exceeding $10,800 for individuals, or $29,500 for a family.
  • Focus on defending gains in Congress in the face of Republican actions; “I voted 10 times in my first term against dismantling the Affordable Care Act.”
  • None have moved forward at this time.

Q: What is the status of the two bills you co-sponsored dealing with anti-harassment training and investigating assault and harassment complaints in the House?

In May, the House unanimously passed HR 4924, which reforms the claims process for sexual harassment in Congress, including eliminating the requirement for mediation before being able to sue, requiring Members to pay for settlements themselves, and requiring the Office of Compliance to publish more information on settlements. (Note: On Dec. 13 the Senate also passed the bill, which is awaiting the President’s signature.)

The House also unanimously passed HR 724 which established an Office of Employee Advocacy to provide free legal assistance to House employees when filing a sexual harassment claim.

Each year, Representative Carbajal’s office requires all staff, interns and the Member to complete workplace rights and sexual harassment training.

Q: What is your perspective on the Kavanaugh hearings and the testimony given before the Senate Judiciary Committee?

“The House was not directly involved in the Kavanaugh hearings, but I have stated that Judge Kavanaugh’s performance in front of the Committee did not demonstrate a temperament befitting a Supreme Court Justice. His partisan political attacks during his testimony were especially concerning and certainly not the sentiments of a fair and impartial justice.”

“Dr. Ford was treated unjustly by the Committee and I believed her testimony.” Representative Carbajal did not think that the Committee had fully investigated the claims. “I would not have voted to confirm Justice Kavanaugh.”

Q: What changes do you expect to see with 40 new Democratic Members elected to the House?

The new class is very diverse ethnically, by gender and with a broad range of points of view. Many veterans were elected this year. Many, not all, of the new Members were elected from purple districts. Democratic leadership will need to balance their platform to reflect the more moderate views while honoring a bold, progressive vision.

“The new Democratic majority in the House will force the President and Senate to work with Democrats to pass legislation.” Prison and sentencing reform and infrastructure are two areas of possible bipartisan cooperation. Representative Carbajal said that he believes if the President wants to secure funding for the border wall, he will need to trade support for comprehensive immigration reform, DACA and a path to citizenship.

The new House majority will be able to pass bills supporting the Democratic agenda. While these may not pass in the Senate, there are opportunities to incorporate these measures into future spending bills which will require compromises to become law.

Q: What actions have you taken to promote gun safety?

Congressman Carbajal introduced the Gun Violence Restraining Order Act. This bill would incentivize states to pass laws such as those we have in California, that enable family members or law enforcement officials to petition a judge for a “gun violence prevention order”, to temporarily stop someone who poses a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing a gun.

He supports reinstating the assault rifle ban, universal background checks, and banning high capacity magazines.

Q: How effective was SBWPC support (endorsement, letters addressing bills) and what are the best ways to assist going forward?

Representative Carbajal incorporated our endorsement into talking points throughout the 2018 election cycle. Support among women is significant in Santa Barbara County.

Congressman Carbajal encouraged SBWPC to continue to contact his local and D.C. offices with our positions on legislation. Phone calls, letters and emails are all effective in showing our approval or opposition to legislation.