Press Releases

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith has introduced the Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act of 2012, a bill designed to ensure equality for military and veteran benefits for all military spouses.

“While the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was a tremendous step forward, there is more that can be done to ensure that the rights of all of our services members and their spouse, regardless of whether they are of the same-sex or opposite-sex as the service member, are protected,” said Ranking Member Adam Smith. “What this bill does is simple: if veterans or service members have a spouse of the same-sex, then their spouse will be afforded the same benefits as their heterosexual counterparts. Spouses of service members should not be prevented from receiving the benefits they have earned simply because they are the same sex as their partner. This discriminatory practice must come to an end.”

Currently, the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs are limited in what benefits may be made available to the spouses of same-sex couples. The Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act of 2012 remedies this discriminatory practice by changing the definition of spouse in the relevant sections of United States code to state: “an individual shall be considered a ‘spouse’ if the marriage of the individual is valid in the State in which the marriage was entered into or, in the case of a marriage entered into outside any State, if the marriage is valid in the place in which the marriage was entered into and the marriage could have been entered into in a State.”

This change will require the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs to recognize any marriage that has been recognized by a state or the District of Columbia and provide the same benefits to the spouses of all service members.

Read the full text of the bill here

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement on the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act.
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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement on the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act:

"I’m pleased the Supreme Court has upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act.  This law is the best available step forward for our health care system that is in dire need of reform.

"The Affordable Care Act will help nearly 30 million uninsured Americans obtain health insurance and will cut our deficit by more than $1 trillion in the long-term with mechanisms in place to curb fraudulent and wasteful medical spending.  It gives Americans the promise of better care by keeping health care and insurance providers accountable for the well being of their patients. The law has also established free preventative care and has empowered states to create new and more efficient methods to deliver the highest quality options for health care.

"The problems with our current health care system will not disappear, and if we do not continue to make decisions in the best interest of all Americans, it will only get worse. I am disappointed that attorney generals across this country including Robert McKenna, decided to waste precious state dollars to fight expanding access to affordable and quality health care for all Americans instead of working to improve our broken health insurance system. Instead of challenging parts of the law that will only move us closer to ensuring all Americans have the health care they need, we should strengthen the provisions that increase efficiencies and decrease costs, and modify sections that would be most burdensome to Americans.

"Maintaining our antiquated, inefficient health care system that has drained our economy and leaves millions without health care is no longer an option. Congress must now work to continue finding ways to improve our health care system by putting the health and well being of Americans first. "

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement after the House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt.
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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement after the House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt:

"Today, for the first time in history, the House of Representatives held a cabinet member in contempt of Congress.  This vote achieved nothing, but was done to prove a political point.  We are no closer to finding the truth of what happened in 2010, when a U.S. Border Patrol Agent was tragically killed using guns from a botched government operation. 

"I am disappointed my Republican colleagues felt it necessary to hold this vote, instead of addressing the real issue of investigating what went wrong, and how we can bring those responsible to justice."

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Congressman Smith (WA-09) released the following statement after the Supreme Court's ruling on the Arizona immigration law:

"While I am pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down key provisions of Arizona’s immigration law, the remaining provision makes it clear that more must be done to address critical issues within our immigration system. I am disappointed that the Supreme Court decided to uphold the "Show Me Your Papers" provision of Arizona's immigration law. Unfortunately, this provision allows local law enforcement to rely on racial profiling, and no individual should fear being unfairly questioned by authorities solely based on their appearance or the color of their skin.

"However, the court's decision to strike down the remaining provisions that would have unjustly detained or punished innocent individuals, families and workers is an important step forward. Criminalizing unauthorized employment and allowing for warrantless arrests violates fundamental civil rights while failing to address the deeper flaws within our current immigration system. The court's ruling also makes it clear that it is the responsibility of the federal government, not states, to enforce immigration laws in this country.

"Immigration enforcement should focus our limited resources on those who pose risk to our national security and public safety, rather than those who are actively contributing to our society. I will continue working with my colleagues and the Obama Administration on comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our national security and economic needs while protecting the civil and human rights that are paramount to maintaining equality of opportunity in America.”

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Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and U.S. Representatives Norm Dicks (R-WA-06) and Adam Smith (D-WA-09) announced that the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) will award two grants totaling $46,485,468 to the Clover Park School District (CPSD), in Lakewood, to replace two elementary schools on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

According to OEA, these awards will remedy the capacity and/or facility condition deficiencies that placed Hillside and Carter Lake Elementary Schools as the second and fifth schools on the July 2011 Deputy Secretary of Defense “Public Schools on Military Installations Priority List”.  

These awards are from the $500 million program authorized by Section 8109 of Public Law 112-10, the DoD and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011, and Section 8118 of Public Law 112-74, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012, to construct, renovate, repair or expand public schools located on military installations. OEA, in making these funds available, must give priority consideration to those military installations with schools having the most serious capacity or facility condition deficiencies, as determined by the Priority List.

A multi-disciplined Federal Evaluation Team, with membership from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, the Military Services, U.S. Department of Education, and the Office of Economic Adjustment, conducted a review of these projects to ensure these awards were appropriate for the noted capacity and facility deficiencies.

“This is great news for the schools and for the entire JBLM community,” said Senator Patty Murray. “This is a critical investment in the public school system for the base.  These grants will help ensure that the children of our servicemembers have a top-notch school facilities.”

“This new investment for Joint Base Lewis-McChord is great news for military families and their children in school,”
said Senator Maria Cantwell. “The new facilities for Hillside and Carter Lake Elementary schools will ensure that children at JBLM have the tools they need to excel. I was proud to join Representatives Norm Dicks and Adam Smith, and Senator Patty Murray in supporting this critical investment.” 

“The release of these funds today allows for the replacement of the Hillside and Carter Lake schools, which will be followed in succeeding years by the reconstruction of four more schools that the Army has determined are substandard.  This is great progress,” said Representative Norm Dicks, ranking Democratic Member of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. 

 "This is an overdue and critical start for the replacement of two of the five aging schools at JBLM," said Representative Adam Smith, Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee. "All students in our community deserve the highest quality education and first-rate facilities. This money will ensure the children at JBLM receive both."

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