Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement today in response to President Trump’s speech:

“The President's address to the nation failed to express even the slightest concern or support for the hundreds of thousands of Americans across our country who are living without paychecks because of this needless shutdown. It is wrong that the President and Congressional Republicans continue to hold workers and their families hostage. The President can and should re-open the government immediately. Democrats are always open to a fact-based discussion on the issues of border security and immigration reform, but the President’s remarks did nothing to advance that discussion."

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) and Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) issued the following statement following the release of the Defense Department’s report on climate change. Langevin amended the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, and Chairman Smith fought successfully for the amendment’s inclusion in the final conference report, expressing the sense of Congress that climate change is a national security issue and requiring the report on each service branch’s top ten military installations threatened by climate change:

“In 2017, House Democrats successfully required the Department of Defense to report on the impact that climate change will have on U.S. military installations. The Trump administration has now released that report and, unfortunately, it is inadequate. It demonstrates a continued unwillingness to seriously recognize and address the threat that climate change poses to our national security and military readiness,” said Chairman Smith. “While this climate report acknowledges that nearly all the military installations it studied are vulnerable to major climate change impacts, and provides numerous installation-level examples of those impacts, it fails to even minimally discuss a mitigation plan to address the vulnerabilities. The Department of Defense presented no specifics on what is required to ensure operational viability and mission resiliency, and failed to estimate the future costs associated with ensuring these installations remain viable. That information was required by law. The Department of Defense must develop concrete, executable plans to address the national security threats presented by climate change. As drafted, this report fails to do that.”

“I am deeply disappointed in the cursory report released by the Department of Defense regarding climate change as a matter of national security. While the Pentagon does rightly acknowledge that a changing climate will affect military readiness and installations, the report does not reflect the urgency of the challenge,” said Congressman Langevin. “Remarkably, the report comes after a year where the Department suffered nearly $10 billion in damage in just two extreme events at Tyndall Air Force Base and Camp Lejeune—two installations that were not even evaluated. Congress deliberately required a list of the top ten bases to specify the methodological rigor that is required to adequately evaluate risk and prioritize mitigation efforts. The report contains no such list. My amendment did not stipulate any geographic constraints on vulnerable installations - after all global warming is a global phenomenon. For no apparent reason, the report confines itself to U.S. bases. Extreme weather events, like the ones that the Department will be asking Congress for money to rebuild after, are not even included as a threat.”

“We need to know the risks to our military from climate change and the costs to mitigate them in order to protect the American people. This report brings us no closer to knowing them. It is unacceptable that the Department has ignored the clear instructions provided by law, and it is unacceptable that our service members and readiness will suffer as a result,” concluded Langevin. “I expect the Department to reissue a report that meets its statutory mandate and rigorously confronts the realities of our warming planet.”

Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement about President Trump’s announcement that he is considering an attempt to misuse a declaration of national emergency in order to divert military construction readiness funds and spend the money on his border wall:

“President Trump is considering a plan to misuse an emergency authority and divert substantial resources from our military to build a wall on the southern border. This is as clear a statement as any that President Trump values the construction of his wall over military readiness and support for our troops and their families. Diverting money from these military construction accounts could have substantial impacts for servicemembers at installations across the country and on defense projects that are important in supporting readiness, training, operations, and quality of life for military personnel and their families.

“Moreover, by abusing this authority, President Trump would be saying that he does not actually believe all the money he requests for our country’s defense is needed for legitimate national security purposes. That would raise major questions about his credibility when he requests his next defense budget from Congress.

“I am adamantly opposed to President Trump using an unwise, weak, and irresponsible legal gimmick to circumvent Congress and the American people’s opposition to using taxpayer money for the construction of an unnecessary wall.”

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The House Democratic Conference today selected Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) to serve as Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee in the 116th Congress.

“This is an extremely challenging time for our country and the world. We are in dire need of oversight from Congress and principled, coherent thinking on U.S. national defense strategy. The Armed Services Committee has a long track record of working in a bipartisan manner to advance U.S. national security policy, and I look forward to working with Ranking Member Thornberry to make that happen.  

“As Chairman, I will work with my colleagues to promote transparency and Congressional oversight, enhance military readiness, combat inefficiency and waste at DOD, advance green technology in defense and address the threat climate change poses to our national security, fight for an inclusive military, and move towards a responsible approach to nuclear weapons.”

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in support of the First Step Act, bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation which passed the House today by a vote of 358-36.

“For too long, our broken criminal justice system has harshly condemned those who have offended and served their sentences to failure. Draconian sentencing practices disproportionately hurt communities of color and have led to mass incarceration. Today, with passage of the First Step Act, we are beginning the long-overdue process to correct these historical wrongs and ensure everyone is treated equally under the law.  

“This bill provides retroactive relief under the Fair Sentencing Act, giving a path to freedom for thousands of people serving excessive sentences on crack cocaine charges. It draws upon aspects of the Second Chance Act, prioritizing funding for reentry programs that have been proven to reduce recidivism and lead to better outcomes for those released from prison. Additionally, the legislation will prohibit the solitary confinement of juveniles in federal facilities as called for in the Mercy Act.

“The First Step Act provides a foundation for Congress to enact greater reforms to improve our criminal justice system. Congress must build upon this legislation to push for restorative justice programs at both the federal and state levels in support of a fairer criminal justice system.”