Congressman Salud Carbajal | Credit: Paul Wellman

The impeachment of President Trump was on Congressmember Salud Carbajal’s mind when he spoke to about 125 people at Dos Pueblos High School in his first Town Hall of the year Tuesday evening. “None of us came to Congress to impeach a president,” he said, adding that it was clear Trump had abused the power of his office by withholding aid to Ukraine in an attempt to gain interference in the 2020 election. “I hope the senators uphold their constitutional oath,” Carbajal said of the impeachment trial ongoing in the Senate as he spoke.

International politics came up when Carbajal discussed his War Powers Resolution vote to block further actions against Iran. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, Carbajal attended the Iran briefing: The attempt to explain the administrations’ actions was so inadequate that many believed the president had no legal grounds, Carbajal said. “We need de-escalation,” the former U.S. Marines reservist said. “We don’t want war.”

Carbajal moved on to the domestic issues that dominate Congress, as in the 400 bills passed that address climate change, lower prescription costs, a stronger economy, and getting dark money out of politics, among other things. And 275 of them passed on a bipartisan vote, he noted. Of the 20 bills Carbajal introduced in 2019, 10 had bipartisan sponsorship. Some of these included the Small Passenger Safety Act, which requires small passenger vessels to adhere to the latest safety standards, and the Coastal State Climate Preparedness Act, protecting coastal communities from climate change by ensuring state resources. Other actions of note in Congress, he said, was working to raise the minimum wage, close the gender pay gap, protect Dreamers, uplift workers in the agriculture industry, and improve gun violence safety.

Questions from the audience ranged from how Carbajal would address the $23 trillion national debt — look at loopholes for Wall Street in the carried interest exemption, he said, and did the audience know the Department of Defense has never been audited? — to combating disinformation online: Congress is looking at political advertising, Carbajal said, as well as data and privacy laws and regulations. When asked what we can do to try and unite our county in a hyper-polarized climate, Carbajal responded candidly. He said individuals should model the behavior we ask our representatives to follow, explaining that he signed a civility agreement when he entered Congress. He continued that not only did he sign an agreement but that he also vows to take every opportunity for bipartisanship.


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