As the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am committed to ensuring that our military personnel, veterans, and their families receive the support of our government in return for their years of faithful service. Working to ensure our service members and their families are well cared for will remain my top priority.
In addition to providing our military personnel with adequate pay and benefits, it is important we work to ensure that our military has the proper equipment, resources, and policies to meet the threats we face today and well into the future. However, in a time of mounting pressure on the Federal budget we must also ensure that every dollar spent on defense is done so in an effective and efficient manner. Simply spending more money does not make our country safer – spending more wisely and effectively does.
While we must ensure that our warfighters have the equipment and training they need to carry out their missions, we must do a better job of carefully examining our policies, requirements, and acquisition programs to improve efficiencies and eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in the Department of Defense.
To that end, I will continue to work to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as it is becoming woefully expensive to operate and the annual cost-per inmate greatly exceeds the cost of holding someone in a maximum security federal prison. It is of great importance that we work to restore civil liberties and due process for all persons. Our civilian law enforcement and justice systems have a proven track record of success when it comes to investigating and prosecuting suspected terrorists.
I am proud to serve as the Ranking Member of the Armed Service Committee and remain committed to supporting our local communities in Washington State and all members of the Armed Services who represent us bravely at home and abroad.
- Safeguarding Israel’s security: Requested sufficient procurement, research, and development funding to protect Israel from short, medium, and long-range missile attacks.
- Stability and Security in Somalia: Encouraged and supported the Department of Defense’s (DoD) bi-lateral security cooperation and counter-terrorism efforts to improve the security situation in Somalia and address terrorist threats from Al-Shabaab.
- Exploring Technology for Clean Water and Desalination: Knowing the DoD has made advances in desalination technology and that lack of clean water is a factor in destabilization around the world, Congressman Smith asked the DoD to provide further information on the recent advances in desalination technologies and how those advances have been shared with other Government agencies.
- Protecting Servicemembers: Noting the importance of fighting drug addiction, introduced legislative language directing the DoD to study how education, prevention, treatment, and outreach on opioid prescription drug abuse may improve individual readiness, health, and quality of life of military service members and their beneficiaries, as well as lower health care costs.
- Supporting People-to-People Ties with English language programs: Requested the Department of Defense to issue a brief on opportunities to explore expanded programming in the areas of teaching English abroad and at home.
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More on National Security
“The United States has a proud history built on our founding as a nation of immigrants. Our existing immigration system is in dire need of reform, but the deeply prejudicial RAISE Act the President has endorsed is not the solution. This detestable proposal would slash our legal immigration program in half and keep families apart through dramatically altering our current family-based immigration system to a so-called merit-based program. The bill would also deny asylum to tens of thousands of refugees fleeing dangerous conditions and persecution.
“Today, I voted against the Intelligence Authorization Act because of Congress’ lack of progress in negotiating reforms to, and increasing protections included in, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), as well as the rushed manner in which the bill was considered by the U.S. House of Representatives. After attempting to bring the legislation up outside of regular order earlier this week, the House Republican leadership ultimately brought the bill to the House Floor today in a format that still did not allow for any amendments.
“The “Security Minibus” appropriations bill the House is currently debating is completely disconnected from the realities that our country faces and the spending choices we must make. This spending package includes funding for the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Legislative Branch, Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers, agencies of the Department of Interior, and several independent agencies.
“This announcement is an unwarranted and disgraceful attack on men and women who have been bravely serving their country. These service members are defending the United States around the world as we speak, and they have long done so with distinction. To prevent transgender people from joining the military and to push out those who have devoted their lives to this country would be ugly and discriminatory in the extreme.
“Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election in the United States were flagrant and unacceptable. Their meddling has not been confined simply to our borders – as they carried out aggressive campaigns to disrupt the elections of our European partners. These actions must stop.
“An enormous amount of good bipartisan work has gone into the writing of this bill, and I am supporting it. Make no mistake about it: We face a complex threat environment. North Korea is testing intercontinental ballistic missiles, Russia continues to undermine not just our elections, but democracy itself across the globe, and we face a terrorist threat. These are dangers that we must be prepared to confront.
"This decision to delay transgender accession to the military is unjustified and morally wrong. The Defense Department has already studied the issue extensively and found that there are no substantial practical obstacles to allowing trans people to join the military and defend their country. To the contrary, many are already serving in the military and doing so with distinction. The only remaining obstacle is prejudice."
“Former Director Comey’s testimony today in the United States Senate further confirms the enormous threat posed by Russian interference with our election system in the 2016 cycle and its continued efforts around the world. This interference should deeply concern all Americans, and the need to take measures to protect our democratic system of government should span the political aisle.
“President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement is a disastrous move that undermines the most significant global climate change agreement to date. Either the President does not understand or simply does not care about the devastating impact global climate change will bring about.
“Each Memorial Day we remember and honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen are deserving of our utmost respect. America’s freedom and liberty are possible thanks to their service to our country. As Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am honored to advocate for our military personnel and their families.