Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 7776, the bipartisan, bicameral text of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23), by a vote of 350 to 80.
“Each year, the annual defense bill provides an opportunity for Congress to steer our national security priorities and deliver meaningful policy reforms that benefit service members, their families, and communities across the United States. For the 62nd consecutive year, the House today passed the final agreed upon text of the FY23 NDAA, sending it to the Senate for a final vote. This year’s defense bill includes important provisions to support our service members and their families, advance cutting-edge research and development, and invest in our global network of allies and partnerships to tackle the biggest challenges around the world. In the many months of negotiations and deliberations it took to craft this legislation, there were compromises made to get this bill across the finish line. In the compromise, we did not get everything we want, but we secured significant wins that are important to Democratic national security priorities. Now more than ever - at a time when global democracy is under attack and the rules-based international order is being threatened - we need a strong national security and defense strategy, and this bill helps us deliver on that front.”
The FY23 NDAA includes important wins for Washington’s Ninth District and communities across the country. See below for a list of FY23 NDAA highlights.
Improving the Lives of Service Members and Their Families
The FY23 NDAA includes a well-deserved pay raise and invests in several other key quality-of-life improvements for military service members and their families.
  • Supports an increase in military basic pay by 4.6% for service members.
  • Increases service member housing allowance by 2% and requires a report on a more transparent, fair, and flexible way to calculate the basic allowance for housing.
  • Increases the threshold to be eligible for the Basic Needs Allowance (BNA), which will now be up to 150% of the federal poverty line.
  • Increases funds for the Commissaries to help offset higher prices.
  • Builds on historic reforms in the FY22 NDAA to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including placing sexual harassment and other offenses under the jurisdiction of the Special Trial Counsel and requiring independent trained investigators outside of the immediate chain of command to investigate claims of sexual harassment.

Advancing Clean Energy and Addressing Climate Change
The FY23 NDAA continues efforts by Congress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean energy, and enhance energy resilience within the military.
  • Requires the transition of DoD non-tactical vehicle fleets to electric or zero-emission vehicles by 2035.
  • Establishes an energy resilience testbed initiative to designate military instillations to conduct demonstration projects on energy technologies including energy storage, electric vehicles, building efficiency, clean energy generation, and electrification.
  • Creates a pilot program for the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) within the DoD to reduce emissions and promote collaboration with airports. Greater adoption of SAF in jet fuel can reduce carbon emissions in the aviation industry and decrease the pollutants emitted from planes that are associated with harmful health impacts on communities near airports and under flight pathways. The Port of Seattle has been a leader in setting goals for the use of SAF at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.  
  • Establishes a pilot program for the development of innovative electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Strengthening United States Support for Ukraine
As the rules-based international order faces threats from Beijing and Moscow that undermine security, freedom, and prosperity for people living around the world, this year’s NDAA authorizes crucial investments in America’s global network of alliances and partnerships.
  • Provides $800 million in funding for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which provides support and assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces and requires a comprehensive assessment of the oversight framework for U.S. assistance to Ukraine.
  • Includes over $6 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative to support deterrence and strengthen alliances and partnerships within the European Command area of operations.
  • Includes the Stop Russian GOLD Act, which would impose sanctions on persons who knowingly participate in a significant transaction of gold with Russia.
  • Includes the Ukraine Invasion War Crimes Deterrence and Accountability Act, which establishes it as the policy of the United States to collect, analyze, and preserve evidence and information related to war crimes and other atrocities committed during Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine for use in appropriate domestic, foreign, and international courts and tribunals prosecuting those responsible, consistent with applicable United States law.
Promoting Diversity in the Military
The FY23 NDAA makes major investments in the research, innovation, and diversity that make our country safer and stronger.
  • Authorizes $131.7 million, an increase of over $98.4 million from the President’s budget request, for defense research activities at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).
  • Creates the Ronald V. Dellums Memorial Fellowship, honoring former Armed Services Committee Chairman Dellums by creating a new scholarship and fellowship program specifically designed to provide additional opportunities to serve in STEM fields within the DoD for those from underrepresented communities.
Preventing and Mitigating Civilian Harm
As a result of years of effort by Congress, human rights groups, and the DoD, the FY23 NDAA demonstrates America’s commitment to protecting civilians from harm due to military operations.
  • Requires the creation and operation of a Civilian Protection Center of Excellence to centralize, standardize, and improve policies regarding civilian harm mitigation in the DoD’s operations and activities. 
  • Authorizes $25 million for the implementation of the Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Action Plan (CHMRAP).
  • Mandates that the newly formed Center for Excellence in Civilian Harm Mitigation contract with a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) to independently report on how the DoD distinguishes between civilians and combatants in military operations.
  • Extends, for a decade, a global ex-gratia authority that requires the United States to make payments for damage, personal injury, or death to a civilian that is inadvertently caused by the use of force by the U.S. Armed Forces, a coalition that includes the United States, or a military organization supporting the United States.
Supporting Ocean Conservation and the Puget Sound
Thanks to the leadership of members of the Washington State Congressional Delegation, the FY23 NDAA includes meaningful provisions to enhance conservation in the Puget Sound, improve mitigation measures for orcas, and promote salmon recovery.
  • Includes one of the largest packages of ocean and Great Lakes bills in decades to help address the climate crisis by protecting and conserving oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes.
  • Authorizes a National Academies study on the effects of 6PPD-quinone on salmonids, aquatic species, and watersheds, including an economic analysis of declining salmon populations in the U.S. and its effects on the importation of salmon from other countries.
  • Provides for conservation and grant programs that harness technology to reduce ocean noise, monitor marine mammals and help vessels avoid them, and improve technology for marine mammal conservation.
  • Establishes a Puget Sound cetacean desk for monitoring and conserving whales in the Puget Sound.
Other Items
The FY23 NDAA includes negotiated agreements by several outside committees that address issues important to the United States, including:
  • The Water Resources Development Act of 2022, legislation that authorizes water resources infrastructure projects to address flooding, waterway transportation, and ecosystem restoration. The WRDA 2022 includes important provisions to promote environmental justice, increase coordination with tribal, minority, and indigenous communities, and build more resilient communities.
  • The Federal Firefighters Fairness Act, which improves firefighters’ access to injury and illness benefits through an automatic presumption that an illness on a science-based list, such as mesothelioma, was work related
  • The 21st Century Assistive Technology Act, which increases the quality of life and expands work opportunities for people with disabilities through increased access to technology, equipment, and services.
  • Important global health provisions to bolster pandemic preparedness and create new interagency processes for responding to international health threats from Global Health Security and International Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response Act of 2022.
  • Reauthorization of the Global Food Security Act for five years, which authorizes the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiatives. The provision updates and strengthens the Global Food Security Act by improving coordination and the implementation of a whole-of-government approach to countering global hunger.  
  • Authorization of the Coast Guard and Maritime Administration (MARAD)
A full summary of the provisions included in the FY23 NDAA is available here.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today released the following statement announcing the 2022 Congressional App Challenge winner from Washington’s Ninth District. The Congressional App Challenge is a competition aimed at encouraging middle and high school students to learn how to code by creating their own apps. This year, the winner from Washington’s Ninth District is Subhadra Vadlamannati for the creation of her app EduLang, a multilingual library app aimed at bridging the language gap through storytelling.

“The Congressional App Challenge is a great way to promote STEM and computer science education among our youth, and to highlight the immense coding talent across the country. This year, I’m thrilled to recognize Subhadra Vadlamannati from Mercer Island High School for her impressive app, EduLang, which is intended to help non-English speaking families learn English through storytelling. Computer science and coding offers new and innovative ways to solve challenges and support vulnerable groups - Subhadra’s work is an excellent example of this exciting possibility. Thank you to all the students who participated in this year’s challenge. I encourage more young people to pursue these important skills and I look forward to seeing what more can be accomplished in the computer science and coding sectors.”

See below for more information about this year’s winning app and honorable mentions.


Subhadra Vadlamannati, Mercer Island High School, 11th Grade

EduLang, a multilingual library app, bridges the language gap through storytelling. EduLang's personalized book library provides learners with culturally sensitive, relatable, and learning level appropriate content. The app uses interactive multilingual books to help learners in grades K-5 from non-English speaking families learn English. Edulang is targeted towards low-resource language speakers with an aim to enable English language learning while continuing to preserve the learner's native language proficiency.

Honorable Mentions

Ryan Chen, Phillips Academy, 11th Grade
Jaewon Kim, GCS Education, 11th Grade

Doczilla is a web-based telemedicine application that combines electronic medical record keeping (EMR) with direct video-to-video communication between patients and healthcare providers. By keeping medical records of prior treatments, the next physician to treat the patient is familiar with prior diagnoses and recommendations. By maintaining both video conferencing and EMR on the same app, information and privacy of accounts are streamlined.

Aarnav Bhat, Interlake High School, 9th Grade
Piyush Acharya, Interlake High School, 9th Grade
Nishant Vikramaditya, Interlake High School, 9th Grade

Waterly is a water calculator that asks questions to determine a person's water use in gallons per year and also estimates your bill based on your residence. Based on your responses to the questions, you will receive personalized tips to help you create a more sustainable environment. Credible resources are provided to assist the user in gaining more knowledge and becoming more aware of their surroundings, as well as to assist the user in learning about their water footprint and the small steps they can take to learn more. 


SEATTLE, WA – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today joined Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and colleagues in sending a letter to Chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Lina Khan regarding the recently announced merger between Kroger and Albertsons. The members asked that the FTC investigate the merger between the two supermarket chains for the effect it will have on competition in the market. This comes after Rep. Smith sent a letter on November 3 to Kroger and Albertsons raising his concerns about the merger’s impact on consumers and workers in Washington state.

The members wrote, “Kroger’s proposed acquisition of Albertsons presents several anticompetitive concerns. For consumers, the consolidated grocery chain could offer fewer product choices and higher costs for essential goods. For workers, the acquisition could impair bargaining power for fair wages and safe working conditions in local communities. For small- and medium-sized grocers, this acquisition could diminish their already strained resources and drive up supply costs.”

“Close and skeptical investigation of this transaction is consistent with Section 7 of the Clayton Act, which prohibits any acquisition the effect of which “may be substantially to lessen competition, or to tend to create a monopoly” in “any line of commerce or in any activity affecting commerce.”[38] As indicated, this transaction has the potential to lessen competition in consumer, labor, and supply markets. This transaction could raise prices and limit options for essential goods,” the members continued.

“We are at a critical moment in our country where we have the evidence and the opportunity to address corporate consolidation not only through a consumer-oriented lens, but also through the lens of labor, equity, upstream supply, and small business. Given these concerns, we urge you to closely evaluate the proposed Kroger- Albertsons acquisition to ensure it does not undermine competition,” the members concluded.

The letter was signed by: Adam Smith (WA-09), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), and David Cicilline (RI-01).

A full copy of the letter can be found here.


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today released the following statement after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she will not be returning to House leadership. Speaker Pelosi is stepping down from leadership after leading House Democrats for 19 years and serving as Speaker of the House for four terms.

“Speaker Pelosi’s courageous and fearless leadership has made a tremendous impact in the halls of Congress, the United States, and across the world. As the first woman to be elected Speaker, Nancy has made history and leaves behind a legacy as a champion for American progress. It has been inspiring to watch her lead our caucus and I am honored to call her a friend.  

“Every significant legislative accomplishment over the last two decades was made possible by Nancy’s steady leadership and relentless commitment to doing what’s right for the American people. From the Affordable Care Act to the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, Nancy has been the one constant figure leading us in passing legislation to create a more prosperous country for future generations. Throughout our time working together, I would often find myself in awe at the unrelenting breakneck pace that Nancy worked to successfully guide our caucus and support our members. I will always appreciate the faith and trust she placed in me, especially in my role leading the Armed Services Committee. 

“Nancy was a uniquely effective and committed leader, and her departure will be deeply felt. We are all better off for her lifetime of service to the American people.”


SEATTLE, WA – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today sent a letter to Albertsons CEO Mr. Sankaran and Kroger Chairman and CEO Mr. McMullen regarding the recently announced merger between the two supermarket chains and the special dividend included in the merger agreement. In the letter, Rep. Smith outlines his concerns about the impact this merger will have on consumers and workers in Washington state.
“At a time when grocery prices have increased, further consolidation in a market that is already highly concentrated raises serious concerns. I believe it is imperative that ample time is given to investigate the effects this merger may have on consumer prices, food access for consumers, and wages and employment for workers,” wrote Rep. Smith.
Rep. Smith continued, “Albertsons employs thousands of workers who have raised reasonable fears that the dividend payment will lead to accelerated store closures and layoffs. The $4 billion payment represents approximately a third of Albertsons’ market capitalization that could be put into worker wages and store improvements to keep the chain competitive. I am particularly worried about the pressure that places on local stores to lower wages and slash benefits for workers.”
Rep. Smith concluded, “I represent a district with a high concentration of Albertsons and Kroger stores. In several neighborhoods, the two chains are each other’s biggest competitors. The merger process may be substantially disruptive to many of my constituents. I firmly believe that this merger should be fully reviewed prior to any major shareholder payout.”
A full copy of the letter can be found here.