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Rep. Salud Carbajal clears legislative hurdles for three bills on safe parking, deportation and inflation

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U.S. Democrat Representative Salud Carbajal for California's 24th congressional district
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This week saw three separate legislative wins for Central Coast Democratic Congressman Salud Carbajal on homelessness, immigration and inflation.

Today saw two developments on legislation Carbajal was involved in or introduced, and one bill also cleared a legislative hurdle yesterday.

“It's always an extra special day when some of your legislation moves forward to the next step, in some cases almost to the finish line, in some cases another substantive step," Carbajal said.

Today’s developments were the advancement of a safe parking program inspired by a former Santa Barbara County supervisor, and a congressional passage of a bill addressing domestic manufacturing that includes parts of Carbajal’s action plan on inflation.

The Naomi Schwartz Safe Parking Program Act, inspired by a program that began in Santa Barbara County in 2004, was approved by the House Committee on Financial Services today.

According to Carbajal’s office, it would allow local governments to “receive grants to establish and expand safe parking programs” which allow people experiencing homelessness to have a place to stay and sleep in their car.

Carbajal said that program’s success in Santa Barbara shows that it can work elsewhere.

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Courtesy of Rep. Salud Carbajal's office
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On May 3, 2021, Rep. Carbajal held a press conference with local officials in Santa Barbara to introduce the Naomi Schwartz Safe Parking Program Act.

“It's been extremely successful," Carbajal said. "This was done in Downtown Santa Barbara, and since then I've worked to scale up that concept or program nationwide.”

The act would strengthen safe parking programs by increasing eligibility to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Emergency Solution Grants. The bill can now be considered by the full House of Representatives.

The other advancement in Thursday’s session was for the CHIPS and Science Act, which Carbajal said aims to strengthen domestic manufacturing of things like semiconductors as a way to address inflation and create jobs.

“This is going to create 100,000 jobs, plus. So this is good for our economy, it's good for our national security and it's good for our inflation, because at the end of the day, that's in great part what has created the inflation that we're all struggling with right now."

The CHIPS and Science Act passed 243 to 187, and heads to President Biden’s desk next. It would invest $52 billion in domestic chip production, support regional tech hubs and expand access to 5G technology, among other things.

But beyond the economic issues, Carbajal said it would also address natural security concerns.

"We realized that we were beholden to the supply chains that were not affording us the products that we needed for our everyday life and our national security," he said. "For example for our phones, for our appliances, for our vehicles, for our computers, you need semiconductor chips to really make those function. And not just one or two, but hundreds of them."

"All of a sudden they weren't available, one, but two, we realized not only were they not available because of the supply chain disruptions of this pandemic but because we were beholden to other countries producing those for us. Clearly it became a national security issue, when many of the weapons that we produce are dependent on those semiconductor chips as well."

The other legislative advancement this week was on immigration. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee approved Carbajal’s Protect Patriot Parents Act, inspired by the story of a Goleta woman named Juana Flores who was deported in 2019 after living in the U.S. for more than 30 years.

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Eric Connolly U.S. House Office of Photography
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Congressman Jimmy Panetta is a Democrat who represents much of the Central Coast in the House of Representatives, including Monterey and San Benito Counties, and parts of Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties.

Flores, the mother of Air Force veteran Caesar Flores, returned to the U.S. in 2021 on humanitarian parole.

Carbajal’s Protect Patriot Parents Act would “make parents of U.S. military servicemembers eligible to adjust for lawful permanent resident status, preventing potential deportations or separations of military families,” according to a release from his office.

“I'm an immigrant myself," Carbajal said. "I arrived to this country when the immigration system worked. I'm also veteran, I served in the United States Marine Corps and was mobilized during the Gulf War to North Carolina."

"I find it unconscionable that someone could step up to volunteer for our country, as I did, sacrificing and willing to put their life on the line for our country, and our democracy, and yet they have parents who are contributing positively to our country, who happen to be here or come here with no criminal record, that they would be deported."

Carbajal’s fellow Democratic Central Coast Congressman Jimmy Panetta also had a busy week, with his office announcing two developments: a $2 million federal grant for the Electrify Monterey Bay project aimed at supporting low-income households in electrifying their homes and making other clean energy projects possible, as well as the introduction of a bill Panetta authored that would allow housing agencies to expand voucher programs.

Congressman Carbajal helped introduce that bill, too.

Benjamin Purper came to KCBX in May of 2021 from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.
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