Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith made the following statement after the passage of comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate:

It is time to address our immigration system in a comprehensive way, and the Senate passage of their immigration reform bill is a huge step forward.  The legislation represents a bipartisan commitment to attract skilled workers, innovative minds, and dedicated individuals that will help create jobs, grow the American economy, and enrich the country with new perspectives and cultural diversity.  

As the debate over immigration reform moves forward to the House of Representatives, we must also look to improve our immigration system so that it  creates a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants and keeps families together, while protecting our national priorities.  I will continue to work with organizations and communities in my district to ensure that we fix our broken immigration system in a way that builds our economy and reflects our national values.  

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The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) invalidated Section Four of the Voting Rights Act, a key provision that protects voting rights in nine states that historically have had discriminatory voting practices.  The decision found that Section Four of the law had an outdated formula that placed undue federal burden on the nine states.  Congressman Smith released the following statement after the decision:  
 
“I am very disappointed in the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act.  In the last election, low income voters and people of color, mainly Hispanic and African Americans, waited in line nearly twice as long as white voters.  It is clear that we must do more, not less, to protect the rights of all people and ensure we have equal access to the polls. The Voting Rights Act has played a critical role in protecting individuals’ right to vote regardless of race, ethnic background, or level of income. By striking Section Four, the Supreme Court limited the federal government’s ability to implement Section Five, consequently rendering this section of the Voting Rights Act powerless and threatening the right to vote for many Americans.  Any state can now implement Voter ID laws and redraw district lines to dilute the voices of large populations of mainly racial and ethnic minorities without federal oversight.
 
“President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act to fix the disenfranchisement of targeted voters - mainly African Americans. Decades since, the Voting Rights Act has been reauthorized and supported by Presidents and Members of Congress of both parties.  To ensure a thriving democracy, Congress must come together again to create a new formula that will ensure all Americans have their voices heard at the ballot box.  I remain committed to doing all I can to ensure that no voter experiences discrimination.”  
 
Even with the striking down of Section Four, Congress can still impose a new formula to determine which states’ voting practices still need federal oversight.  Congressman Smith had previously signed an Amicus brief in support of Section Five of the Voting Rights Act and is a cosponsor of the Voter Empowerment Act.
 

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Today, the Supreme Court ruled on two cases dealing with same-sex marriage.  In the case of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Court ruled the law unconstitutional, citing the Fifth Amendment, and enabling the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage.  The Court also decided that those trying to reinstate Proposition 8 had no standing, effectively restoring marriage equality in California.  Congressman Smith released the following statement after the decisions:
 
“The Supreme Court’s rulings on marriage equality today are a huge step forward for our country.  By striking down DOMA, the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Constitutional right to equality for all Americans regardless of who they love.  Married same-sex couples will finally be recognized by the federal government and receive benefits previously denied such as Social Security survivor benefits, shared health insurance, and tax benefits for married couples.  Additionally, the Supreme Court ruled to return the right for same-sex couples to marry in California by allowing the lower courts to repeal Proposition 8.  
 
“Even with these rulings, significant work remains to ensure equal rights to the LGBT community.  Same-sex couples living in states that don’t recognize all marriages still face uncertainty and discrimination.  LGBT people can still be denied work simply based on who they are. Bullying in our schools is still a dangerous epidemic among youth who are or are perceived to be LGBT, and homelessness and poverty rates are still unacceptably high among LGBT people.  The Supreme Court’s decisions exhibit the tremendous progress we have made towards full equality, but we must remain committed to doing all we can to make sure equal opportunity and justice are realities for all Americans.”
 
Congressman Adam Smith has been a committed supporter in the fight for marriage equality and LGBT equal rights.  In February, he introduced the Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act, that would ensure that same-sex spouses received equal benefits in our Armed Services.  He also has cosponsored the Respect for Marriage Act, which would have repealed DOMA, and signed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage.
 

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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), made the following statement following the Army’s announcement on force structure changes:

“I am disappointed with today’s announcement that the Army will deactivate the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), resulting in a reduction of approximately 4,500 soldiers.  While this is a major loss to the Puget Sound community, JBLM’s 26,500 soldiers will continue to play an important role in the Pacific Northwest and, in combination with the Air Force capabilities at McChord, will remain an important installation that allows the Army to project power to the Pacific.  
 
“These reductions are part of a larger plan to cut 80,000 troops nationwide by 2017 that is largely a consequence of the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011, which mandated major cuts to the Department of Defense (DoD) budget.  The BCA became law when the Republican majority refused to lift the debt ceiling without legislation that forced $900 billion in immediate cuts to discretionary programs, including $487 billion to defense programs.  I voted against this legislation due to my concerns about these indiscriminate cuts and their effects on DoD as well as transportation, education, Medicare, and aid to the poor.

“Since that time, Congress has made it very difficult for the Department to implement these cuts. For example, the Department of Defense attempted to save money by retiring a number of ships it does not need, by requesting authority for a BRAC, which would allow the military to save money by consolidating and reorganizing its infrastructure, and by making changes to its health care systems. Congress blocked each and every one of these attempts and has now forced the military to make very difficult choices.  
 
“Given the drawdown in Afghanistan, the Army can manage this reduction in troops, but the real hazard to military effectiveness will persist as long as Congress fails to act on sequestration. If sequestration is not removed, then more extensive force structure changes will need to be made to accommodate the severity of the sequester cuts.  Earlier this year, I put forward a reasonable solution to sequestration. Unfortunately, Republican leadership in the House has not put my plan to a vote and now Congressional paralysis has placed our military in a very difficult position. It’s time that Congress and the President come together to prevent an additional $1.2 trillion in cuts through sequestration.”

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Congressman Adam Smith made the following statement regarding his vote against the farm bill, which would have cut Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by $20.5 billion:
 

“I was pleased to see that the Farm Bill did not pass the House of Representatives.  I supported parts of the Farm Bill, but the cuts to SNAP were simply unacceptable.  This bill would have changed eligibility requirements for SNAP that would result in reduced benefits for recipients in Washington State and nationwide.  In total, the legislation would have cut $20.5 billion from SNAP over the next 10 years, which would have forced 2 million people nationwide off SNAP and reduce benefits for millions more.
 
“These cuts are just wrong.  For one-fifth of our children suffering from food insecurity, many of our veterans transitioning to civilian jobs, and families recovering from our economic downturn, SNAP provides essential support.  For this reason, as our economy continues to recover, it is critical that we maintain SNAP assistance.  There was an amendment to the Farm Bill offered by Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) that would have restored the $20.5 billion in cuts by eliminating unnecessary subsidies.  I cosponsored this amendment and supported it on the floor, but unfortunately it failed to be included in the final bill due to overwhelming Republican opposition.  I will continue to fight to protect families in need of nutrition assistance.”

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