Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman (D-WA) released the following statement about DoD’s intent to reprogramming funding to fund building a wall on the southwest border and has issued a letter denying the request.

 “Congress grants the Department of Defense the ability to move a limited amount of appropriated funds through the reprogramming process in order to address emergent, higher-priority needs, subject to specific statutory limitations. Congress has trusted the Department with this tool to give them additional flexibility to manage day-to-day operations. DoD’s recent notification of its intent to use that process to reprogram $1 billion without Congressional approval is a violation of that trust.  

“DoD is attempting to circumvent Congress and the American people’s opposition to using taxpayer money for the construction of an unnecessary wall, and the military is paying the cost. Marine Corps leadership recently signaled that a lack of fiscal support from the Department has required them to cancel or significantly reduce participation in three training exercises, as well as reduce maintenance expenditures for combat equipment, and that without necessary relief the Marine Corps will have to cancel five more training exercises, reduce and delay additional maintenance, and reduce or cancel Reserve mobilization.

“Meanwhile, the Army has made an intentional decision to not pursue its requested authorized end strength for Fiscal Year 2019.  This decision was made after Congress, in good faith, approved and funded the Department’s request based on discussion with the Army experts.  The administration has decided to use the funds available from this decision to fund portions of the border wall. 

“This needs to stop.  Based on the unfunded requests received for the Fiscal Year 2020 budget and the issues raised by the Marine Corps, there are obviously more pressing issues with readiness and modernization that these funds could - and more importantly should - go to. Instead of focusing on readiness, hurricane recovery, and other genuine issues, the administration continues to spend billions of dollars on an imaginary crisis.  The priority needs to be on supporting our service men and women, and their families who defend our nation. In this, the administration continues to fail. There is no national emergency at the southern border. The Administration should stop using our servicemembers as a political tool and instead focus on building military capabilities and readiness and areas where we should focus our defense resources. Congress will act as necessary to defend its Constitutional prerogatives.”

The Committee’s formal response to the Department can be found here.

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in response to the release of Attorney General Barr’s letter summarizing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's final report:

“It is imperative that the American people and the United States Congress see the entire Muller report. Thus far, we have not seen a single word that we know for a fact Special Counsel Mueller wrote, only Attorney General Barr’s opinion of that report. We must see the full report.

“Conspiracy and obstruction are very difficult to prove, and have an incredibly high bar. Apparently, Special Counsel Mueller did not think there was sufficient evidence for conspiracy, and he could not offer a clear opinion on obstruction. That is distinctly possible, but it does not mean that the President and his campaign didn’t do anything wrong. The Mueller probe resulted in the indictment of 34 individuals, including seven guilty pleas and four people sentenced to prison. For anyone to say this report shows no wrongdoing is a gross misstatement of the facts. 

“According to Attorney General Barr, the report does say unequivocally that Russia interfered in the 2016 Presidential election in order to elect Donald Trump president. This is something the President has denied over and over again. The Mueller report shows the President is wrong. It is way past time for the President to personally take steps to hold the Russians accountable for their interference. The fact that Trump refuses to do so is a blot on his presidency and undermines the credibility of our democracy.

“We now also know that the Russians made attempts to influence the election and had contact with people in the Trump campaign to offer to help. The Trump campaign was aware of these offers and aware of what the Russians were doing. The Trump campaign took no steps to alert any authorities, failed to contact the FBI, and didn’t try to stop the Russians in any way. That is not a crime, but it definitely leaves the campaign morally culpable for the result. In terms of the President’s leadership in dealing with the Russian interference in our election, and in terms of what his campaign had to do with the interference, even his own attorney general has put out a set of facts that make it clear that the President behaved at a minimum in an unethical way. At a minimum this is clearly a failure of leadership by the President.”

Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman (D-WA) released the following statement about DoD’s Implementation of the ban on the service of transgender people.

“It would be prudent for Acting Secretary Shanahan to delay implementing the Mattis policy until the courts have made their final determinations. Any other course of action not only undermines military readiness, but is also an insult to transgender individuals who have served and are still serving with distinction. Anyone who is qualified and willing should be allowed to serve their country openly.  Make no mistake, this is a discriminatory ban on transgender people, not a ban on a medical condition and we will continue to fight against this bigoted policy.”

“Today, Democrats are answering the call from the American people to restore our democracy with a broad package of reforms to take on campaign finance regulations, expand voting rights, and improve ethics in all three branches of the federal government. Renewing confidence in our democracy requires a multifaceted approach, and I am proud to support this important step in reforming our electoral process, restoring integrity to campaign finance, and promoting ethics.

“I strongly support the transparency this legislation will bring to our campaign finance system. To reduce the prevalence of corporate and foreign funding of our elections, we must move toward public financing for all elections to federal office. Our current privately-financed system, along with court rulings that have gutted earlier campaign finance reform laws, allows the wealthiest individuals and corporations to hide their spending. We must bring dark money out in to the light for public scrutiny and put the political power back in the hands of everyday Americans.

“Following the Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County v. Holder more than five years ago, more than two dozen states have enacted anti-voter laws that make it harder to register and more difficult to cast ballots. Increasing access to elections supports free and fair elections for Americans to make their voices heard at all levels of government. H.R. 1 prioritizes electoral equity, by modernizing voter registration for the 21st century. By requiring early voting options, supporting voting by mail efforts, and increasing voting locations near public transportation, the legislation will empower voters across our country and expand access to polls. Every American must be guaranteed a voice in our democracy – and H.R. 1 is a critical first step in restoring that promise.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in response to voting in support of H.Res. 183, a resolution condemning bigotry and prejudice in all forms, including anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and white nationalism:

“Political dialogue in this country should come from a point of respect and understanding, free from racism, hatred, anti-Semitism, or Islamophobia. The charge of dual loyalty or allegiance is one of the oldest forms of anti-Semitism; for centuries, Jews in countries around the world have been subjected to these claims. Here in the United States, less than just a century ago, unfounded claims of dual loyalty were the basis for the wrongful incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

“It is okay to disagree with Israel’s actions and policies, but these debates must be had without resorting to comments that have dark, anti-Semitic underpinnings. It is not okay to claim that support for Israel is solely because of money or dual loyalty. Regardless of intentions, remarks with these undertones continue to perpetuate anti-Semitic beliefs. Similarly, attacking any individual for their religion, race, or origin is equally wrong. The recent anti-Islamic threats and remarks are disgusting and have no place in our society, let alone political discourse. They are a stark reminder of the hatred and discrimination that communities of color and Muslims face in our country and around the world.

“I want to reiterate that we cannot equate criticism of Israel’s policies and actions with anti-Semitism. Dialogue and debate needs to be focused on the substantive issues at hand and should recognize the complexity of the challenges and historical context of the region.”