Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the Inflation Reduction Act, a bill that will help tackle our nation’s most pressing challenges: inflation, the cost of health care and prescription drugs, and climate change.
 
“Today, Congress passed historic legislation that will improve the lives of the American people. The Inflation Reduction Act meets the moment by taking action to reduce inflation while also lowering health care costs and accelerating the transition to clean energy. The bill pays for these crucial investments by reforming our tax code to close unfair loopholes and ensure that the ultra-wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share.
 
“This bill includes the single largest climate investment in our nation’s history and will result in tangible progress in our fight against the climate crisis. The investments included in the bill will accelerate our clean energy economy, putting us on a path to reduce emissions by roughly 40 percent by 2030. The bill will support the production of more affordable and reliable clean energy right here at home, which will create millions of good-paying American jobs and reduce our reliance on other countries. It prioritizes investments in underserved communities, with upwards of $60 billion going towards environmental justice priorities. Over the next decade the Inflation Reduction Act will prove that clean energy is not only a win for our environment but also for our economy.
 
“Crucially, the Inflation Reduction Act will also lower health care costs for Americans by extending the expanded Affordable Care Act subsidies through 2025, finally allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, and capping out of pocket costs at $2,000 for Medicare beneficiaries.
 
“The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act is a testament to the persistence of the Biden-Harris administration and Congressional Democrats. While Republicans in Congress reject proposal after proposal to address the many challenges we face, Democrats will continue our work to advance legislation that will make a meaningful difference in the lives of the American people. I am thrilled to see this bill pass out of the House today, and I look forward to seeing President Biden sign it into law.”
 
A one-page summary of the bill can be found here.
A fact sheet about the tax provisions included in the bill can be found here.
A fact sheet about the prescription drug provisions included in the bill can be found here.
A fact sheet about the energy investments included in the bill can be found here.
 
###

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1808, the Assault Weapons Ban, which would prohibit the sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession of semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices.

“In mass shooting after mass shooting, we come to find out that the shooter used a semiautomatic gun to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. After Sandy Hook, after Uvalde, Congress heard directly from the doctors who treated the victims of these shootings, and they told us about the damage that these guns inflicted on the human body – their testimony was harrowing. These guns are weapons of war, and they have no place in our communities. The Assault Weapons Ban we passed today would significantly reduce the prevalence of these weapons, which would help prevent the next mass shooting from ever taking place.

“Congress enacted this ban before, and we can do it again. For ten years, the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban proved effective at getting these dangerous weapons off our streets and reducing deaths from gun violence. In passing the Assault Weapons Ban today, the House sent this legislation to the Senate for another vote. I urge the Senate to come together and swiftly pass this bill – American lives are on the line.”

A fact sheet of the bill can be found here.

###

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement after introducing the Saving Homes from Acquisition by Private Equity (SHAPE) Act, which would create a significant federal real estate transfer tax on institutional investors and private equity firms who purchase single-family homes on the open market. The revenue from this tax would go directly towards grants that will help states build and preserve affordable housing and slow the consolidation of single-family home ownership among the investor class.

“One of the greatest challenges we face as a country is housing affordability. Individuals and families across the country are struggling to afford to rent or buy homes. This has been exacerbated in recent years by a troubling increase in investors purchasing a significant percentage of existing single-family homes, squeezing out prospective homebuyers and harming future renters. We must curb this harmful trend before it further accelerates our nation’s housing crisis – that’s exactly what the SHAPE Act will do. Folks in our communities should not have to compete with large institutional investors and private equity firms when they go to buy a home, and renters should not be subjected to the harmful practices by these investor class landlords that want to wring the value out of each house. My bill will deter this problematic trend that is damaging the housing market, consumers, and our communities.”

See below for statements of support for the Saving Homes from Acquisition by Private Equity (SHAPE) Act.

“The movement of private equity into housing markets has been disastrous, increasing the financial burden on renters who have to choose between paying rent and basic necessities like food and healthcare. This burden has fallen particularly hard on Black and brown tenants, whose neighborhoods have been targeted by corporate landlords. We are thrilled to see Representative Smith address this issue with the Saving Homes from Acquisition by Private Equity Act, which would discourage firms from buying up single family homes while requiring those that do so to contribute an equal investment to building affordable housing through the Housing Trust Fund.” - Katie Goldstein, Director of Housing Campaigns, CPD Action

“For the last decade, private equity firms have scooped up starter homes at alarming rates, benefiting absentee landlords and depleting first-time homebuying opportunities for middle-income households.  We need legislation like this to preserve wealth-building homeownership opportunities for people who live in and contribute to the economic prosperity of our communities.” - Kathleen Hosfeld, Executive Director, Homestead Community Land Trust

“Private equity firms and other corporate landlords have contributed to the housing crisis by crowding out families from buying homes on the open market and raising rents on tenants to the point of unaffordability. This legislation would go a long way in discouraging the hoarding of single-family homes by corporate investors and give American families a fighting chance at realizing the American Dream of owning a home and securing an affordable place to live.” - Chris Noble, Esq., Policy Coordinator, Private Equity Stakeholder Project

"Prosperity Now applauds Rep. Smith for his leadership in introducing the Saving Homes from Acquisition by Private Equity (SHAPE) Act, which would reasonably regulate the role of private equity in the housing market, shore up the Housing Trust Fund, and begin to level the playing field for home buyers. Private equity has aggravated the country’s housing crisis and is benefiting from the nation’s underproduction of new homes. Congressman Smith’s bill will help address this distortion of the market." - Doug Ryan, Vice President, Policy & Applied Research, Prosperity Now

“America is facing one of its toughest housing affordability crises in history. The Saving Homes from Acquisition by Private Equity Act (SHAPE) would help communities preserve affordable housing and would grow the Housing Trust Fund to ensure the lowest-income families have access to safe, secure housing. NAHRO thanks Congressman Smith for his continued dedication to increasing affordable housing supply.” - Mark Thiele, C.E.O., National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO)

Background

The purchasing of single-family homes by large investors, especially in the current housing market, serves only to make profits for the investors and provides no value to the communities where these homes are located. People should not have to compete with wealthy private equity and investor firms when they are trying to buy a home in their community. A significant tax on these purchases will help enable more families the opportunity to purchase a home, combat the growing large investor landlord model, and provide additional funding to build and preserve affordable housing for low-income households.  

The Saving Homes from Acquisition by Private Equity Act:

  • Creates a federal real estate transfer tax, set at 100% of the property's sale price, charged to large private equity firms or corporations with $20 million in assets purchasing any single-family home(s). 
  • Directs all revenue from the tax into HUD’s Housing Trust Fund, which provides grants to states to produce and preserve affordable housing for extremely low- and very low-income households. 
  • Allows exemptions from the tax for non-profits and government entities, or if the purchase is pursuant to a government program providing housing to low-income individuals.

The Saving Homes from Acquisition by Private Equity (SHAPE) Act is endorsed by several organizations, including Private Equity Stakeholder Project, Prosperity Now, the National Association of Consumer AdvocatesCPD Action, and the Washington Low-Income Housing Alliance.

A fact sheet of the bill can be found here.

The full text of the bill can be found here.

###

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, sending it to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
 
“Today Congress reaffirmed America’s global leadership and competitiveness by passing the CHIPS and Science Act, which will make critical investments to bolster domestic manufacturing and strengthen our workforce. These investments will reduce the shortage of essential semiconductor chips used in everything from electric vehicles to consumer electronics, shore up supply chains, lower consumer costs, and create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs right here at home. I am pleased to see that the bill maintains important safeguards to prohibit this funding from being used by corporations for stock buybacks and shareholder dividends. The bill also promotes American innovation by reforming and modernizing key federal science and research agencies to enhance their ability to conduct cutting-edge science and engineering research in emerging technologies like A.I. and advanced energy. Additionally, the bill includes a new program to create technology and innovation ‘hubs’ across the country and broaden participation in STEM fields. As Americans struggle with the cost of living, this historic bill will bring manufacturing back to the U.S. and create opportunity for our workers, strengthen the economy, and brighten our future.”
 
Background
 
The CHIPS and Science Act includes:
  • $54 billion in appropriations for the currently authorized Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act and public wireless supply chain innovation. This includes:
    • $39 billion for incentives to build, improve, or expand U.S. semiconductor manufacturing.
    • $11 billion for semiconductor R&D and workforce development.
    • $1.5 billion for the Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund to support U.S. and allied leadership in the global telecommunications arena by accelerating open architectures and fostering a competitive, secure, and standards-based ecosystem for 5G and beyond networks.
    • $500 million to support international information and communications technology security and semiconductor supply chain.
    • $2 billion for the Department of Defense (DoD) to implement the Microelectronics Commons, a national network for onshore, university-based prototyping, lab-to-fab transition of semiconductor technologies - including DoD-unique applications - and semiconductor workforce training.
  • A 25% investment tax credit for manufacturing of semiconductors or semiconductor manufacturing equipment in the U.S.
  • Important guardrails provisions, including:
    • Recipients of funding cannot use the funds for stock buybacks and shareholder dividends, and funds can be ‘reclaimed’ if these conditions are met.
    • Commerce is required to ensure that the recipients of CHIPS manufacturing incentives meet their commitments to increase the participation of economically disadvantaged individuals in the semiconductor workforce. Commerce also must establish personnel to serve as a resource to support the participation of minority-owned businesses, Veteran-owned businesses, and women-owned businesses, in CHIPS-funded projects.
    • Funds for semiconductor fabrication construction would include Davis-Bacon Act prevailing wage requirements.
  • New authorizations and reforms to federal science and engineering research at the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the National institution of Standards and Technology (NIST) within Commerce. The goal is to modernize these agencies to enhance research in emerging technologies like AI and advanced energy. 
  • Authorizes new regional technology and innovation hub program within the Department of Commerce to establish 20 ‘hubs’ around the country to focus on technology development job creation and expanding U.S. innovation capacity.
A summary of the bill can be found here.
Fact sheets for the bill can be found here.
###

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) recently published an op-ed in Fox News, urging Congress to include climate provisions in an upcoming reconciliation package – legislation that Democrats can pass into law because it cannot be blocked by the filibuster. In his piece, Rep. Smith makes the case that transiting to a renewable and clean energy economy will allow us to address many of the challenges we currently face, including public and environmental health, energy costs, and inflation and that failing to do so will represent a missed opportunity for our environment, economy, and future.
 
You can read the full piece below and here.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Discussion of climate change may seem abstract or theoretical, but here in the Puget Sound region we are already feeling its effects. We see climate change in the increasing and intensifying wildfires, storms, heat waves, and other natural disasters that continue to become more deadly, displace more people, and expose more communities to harmful environmental and health hazards. Around the world, climate change is a major driver of displacement, famine, and conflict. If left unaddressed, these effects are only going to become more costly and deadly. 
 
Climate change represents the existential threat of our time and thinking about the sheer scope of the challenge can be terrifying. But the solution — transitioning off fossil fuels — presents an enormous opportunity for our country and our world. It’s not all doom and gloom.
 
Moving to a clean energy economy can address some of the most-pressing issues facing individuals and families right now like health and wellbeing, energy costs, inflation, and economic opportunity.
 
Fossil fuels have harmful effects on environmental health and wellbeing, which we have known about for years. Pollution from fossil fuels — whether from cars and trucks, gas furnaces and stoves, or manufacturing and industrial sites — negatively impacts public health, especially children and the most vulnerable members of our society. Transitioning to a clean-energy economy would drastically reduce harmful pollution and create cleaner, healthier communities.
 
A system reliant on fossil fuels also has consequences for consumers and their pocketbooks. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the global rise in oil and gas prices illustrates the volatility of the fossil fuel market and the impact it has at the pump. The increase in fuel costs is one of the primary drivers of inflation. As consumers get squeezed with rising costs from inflation and higher fuel prices, oil companies have made record profits during this crisis. All the while, the oil industry and its allies have shamelessly called for an increase in domestic oil production, which is a false solution.
 
Oil and gas production in the U.S. has been at an all-time high in recent years and the Biden-Harris administration approved more drilling permits per month than President Donald Trump did in any of his first three years in office. No matter how much fossil fuel energy we produce domestically, U.S. consumers will always be subject to price hikes based on what’s happening in the global market.
 
The only way to be truly energy independent is to build an American economy no longer dependent on fossil fuels.
 
A renewable and clean energy economy would help combat inflation and bring more affordable, stable energy to consumers, insulating folks from the volatility we see today in the price of gas, utilities, and everyday goods. Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels will remove a huge point of economic and political leverage that oil-rich autocratic leaders in Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia wield to their benefit. That means our transition to a clean-energy economy isn’t just smart domestic policy, it is also a matter of national security.
 
Senator Joe Manchin, D-WV, reportedly wants to wait until September, when July’s inflation numbers are released, to decide how to proceed on climate provisions in a reconciliation legislative package. Like Manchin, folks around the country are worried about the price of gas and higher costs for everyday goods. I’m worried about rising prices too.
 
But that is exactly why we need to keep making the case that a clean energy economy can help address the challenges we face — including inflation.
 
We aren’t going to convince skeptics if we only talk about the existential threat of climate change. We must focus on the opportunity in front of us. An economy that runs on renewable and clean energy will improve people’s health and wellbeing; reduce energy costs for consumers; minimize drastic energy price swings; create good paying jobs; and promote national security and global stability. 
 
Congressional Democrats and the Biden-Harris administration have made clear our commitment to combating climate change. It’s been at the forefront of executive actions from day one of this administration, and it was a pillar of the Build Back Better Act that passed in the House last year.
 
But legislative days are quickly running out and we face hard choices. If an agreement on climate provisions can be reached with Manchin, the choice is clear.
 
Congress must not squander our best opportunity to take significant climate action during Biden’s first term — it’s time to move a reconciliation bill that puts the country on a path toward net-zero emissions and to decarbonize every sector of the economy.
 
If we can successfully include other priorities — such as prescription drug pricing reform — then we should, but passage of a major climate bill is going to require members of Congress to make concessions on unresolved, non-climate related priorities and fight those battles separately. This is of course not the ideal outcome, but it is the prioritization necessary to push through a climate package that will truly catalyze our clean energy future. 
 
If an agreement can ultimately be reached with Manchin on investments in climate and clean energy, we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Our collective success will require all of us who take climate change seriously to convince the American people, especially skeptics, that passing an aggressive clean energy package is an opportunity to not only tackle climate change, but also address some of the pain points that Americans across the country are feeling right now. It’s on us, and the time is now.  
 
Congressman Adam Smith, D-Wash., represents Washington’s 9th congressional district, serving parts of King and Pierce counties including Seattle, Bellevue, and Tacoma. As a senior member of Democratic leadership in the House, Congressman Smith also serves as Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.