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Rep. Carbajal says "largest climate action bill ever" will grow local economy, clean energy projects

Benjamin Purper
Central Coast Congressman Salud Carbajal gathered local leaders in San Luis Obispo on Aug. 11 to promote the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 passed today and is now headed to President Biden's desk. It’s a major piece of legislation that’s not just about inflation — it also addresses health care costs, climate change and more.

Central Coast Congressman Carbajal voted for the bill, and calls it the "largest climate action bill ever" that also addresses healthcare costs and economic growth. The bill is a key component of President Biden's agenda and includes more than $430 billion in funding.

Ahead of the vote, Carbajal gathered local leaders in San Luis Obispo on Aug. 11 to talk about inflation and climate change.

Carbajal said the act puts billions of dollars towards addressing climate change, drought and wildfires in California.

“We’re investing directly in American families, to help lower energy bills and promoting our energy security by investing in making more clean energy here at home, especially places that are already poised to be leaders in the field — like the Central Coast," he said.

Democrats say the Inflation Reduction Act would help pay down the federal deficit, invest in domestic manufacturing and drastically cut carbon emissions. Carbajal said incentives for companies to develop and expand clean technology projects like battery storage, electric vehicles, renewable energy production and more are a crucial part of this bill.

He pointed to proposed battery storage facilities and offshore wind farms off of Morro Bay as local examples of these kinds of advancements.

"These seeds, combined with the water and sunlight of our Inflation Reduction Act, will help the Central Coast grow into the clean energy powerhouse we all know it can be.”

San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg also spoke, saying she feels this legislation comes at a perfect time for this area, as new renewable energy projects like wind and solar are starting all over the county.

Benjamin Purper
San Luis Obispo Mayor Erica A. Stewart speaks at an Aug. 11 press conference in San Luis Obispo with Rep. Carbajal.

"I feel like this legislation was written just for us in SLO County, because it could not come in a more opportune time for us here. We have a strong energy tradition, and we can all strongly position our region as the energy economic powerhouse which we are so qualified to grow further," she said.

The bill has strong Republican opposition for a number of reasons. Republican Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas said earlier this month that Democrats passing such huge legislation without bipartisan support hurts the Senate as an institution.

“In their zeal to pass their reckless tax-and-spend agenda, they have undermined one of the last successful bipartisan processes remaining in the Senate," he said on the Senate floor.

High-ranking Republicans say they don’t believe this bill would reduce inflation, and they’re opposed to several key aspects of the legislation like higher taxes on manufacturers.

Carbajal responds to those criticisms by pointing out that the bill would not add to the deficit, and that it would not raise taxes for anyone making less than $400,000 a year.

"You may have heard this bill referred to as a tax bill. It's a tax bill because it restores fairness to our tax code," Carbajal said Thursday. "If Central Coast families [and] businesses have to pay taxes while fighting to stay in the black, then certainly the largest corporations raking in record profits should have to pay their fair share as well."

The process to get this bill to President’s Biden desk was tumultuous. It barely passed the Senate through a budget reconciliation process where all Democrats and no Republicans voted yes on the bill, with the vice president serving as tiebreaker.

Today's House vote was similarly partisan, with all Democrats voting yes and all Republicans voting no.

, and he described the bill as a necessary compromise, saying: "My message to Congress is this: This is the strongest bill you can pass."

The bill now heads to the president's desk.

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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