With efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act failing last week, Santa Barbara’s Congressmember Salud Carbajal announced he’s participating in a bipartisan caucus known as “The Problem Solvers” to address specific problems with the Affordable Care Act. Carbajal said there are 42 members, half of them Republican, half Democrats. The first item they’ll address is the cost-sharing subsidies needed to make mandated insurance coverage affordable. Carbajal said the group’s first meeting will take place sometime after the August recess. He noted with some astonishment that President Donald Trump is urging the Senate to take another crack at the Affordable Care Act. “This is like Count Dracula,” Carbajal said. “Even though the stake has been driven through his heart, he just keeps coming back and coming back.”
Carbajal posted a photograph (pictured) of himself with Senator John McCain — taken last April by the Hanoi Hilton, the infamous North Vietnamese prison camp where McCain was locked after being captured in the Vietnam War — after three Republicans broke ranks and voted against the Republican health-care bill. Carbajal praised McCain and senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, all Republicans.
Shortly after the vote, Murkowski reported she’d been contacted by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, whose wife’s family is from Santa Barbara, letting her know her vote could jeopardize several Interior projects slated for Alaska. Zinke has denied such allegations, terming them “laughable,” insisting he speaks with Murkowski with great frequency. Murkowski’s press office declined to offer further elaboration on the alleged threats, confirming only that Zinke passed along his displeasure with her vote on health care. “Murkowski doesn’t disclose details of private conversations she has with her colleagues and/or members of the administration,” wrote Karina Petersen, Murkowski’s spokesperson.