Press Releases

Smith Statement on NSC Reorganization

Today, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following statement about the Trump administration’s presidential memorandum on organization of the National Security Council (NSC) and the Homeland Security Council (HSC):

January 30, 2017

“This arrangement could hardly be more ominous for the U.S. national security decision-making process and the security of our friends and allies. The moves laid out in the National Security Presidential Memorandum take an unprecedented step to politicize the NSC. By placing a political operative at the table for all meetings, it concentrates power in the hands of Steve Bannon, an ultra-right-wing political strategist who wants to take national security policy in a direction that will undermine global security, strengthen our enemies, and shred American values. This goes beyond the long-standing practice of including the President’s Chief of Staff. At the same time, the memorandum downgrades the role that objective intelligence and military advice will play in the president’s decision-making process. We should not be going down this road. Congress will have no choice but to question the integrity of the NSC’s recommendations going forward.”


Smith Statement on President Trump's Executive Order Contradicting American Values

Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in response to the extensive damage President Trump's most recent Executive Order banning refugees is already causing:

January 28, 2017

“President Trump's Friday afternoon executive order banning refugees is already wreaking havoc on countless individuals here in the United States and creating lasting repercussions for our country's international stature. Aside from the fact that the United States already has a very extensive vetting process for refugees, the White House's failure to issue guidance for the Department of Homeland Security, airport employees and airlines across the world is causing chaos, fear, and potentially irreparable harm to our international alliances. Legal scholars are already raising serious legal questions about whether the President's ban is even constitutional. 
“In directing the Department of Homeland Security to indefinitely deny Syrian refugees from entering the United States, as well as callously barring all refugees from the rest of the world for a minimum of 120 days, the President has chosen to act in direct contrast to our nation’s proud history of helping those in need. The fact remains that there have been no fatal terror attacks in the United States by immigrants from the seven nations identified in the President's executive order. 

“Mr. Trump's disturbing lack of knowledge of the current vetting processes and his complete disregard for American values is both disturbing and dangerous. If we are to succeed in the fight against Islamic extremists, we must make it clear that our fight is not against the Muslim religion. We need our Muslim allies now, perhaps more than ever. The President's executive action will only lead to a clash of civilizations and write a chapter of history America will be ashamed of.”

Smith Statement Condemning President Trump’s Executive Action to Block Refugees and Suspend Visas

Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in response to President Trump’s irresponsible executive order regarding refugees and visas:

January 27, 2017

“President Trump's reckless executive order on refugees and visa restrictions is contrary to America’s founding principles and threatens our nation's security. The President has chosen to act in direct contrast to our nation’s proud history of helping those in need. President Trump's actions will only create divisions within America, stoke fear and hate, and help recruit more terrorists and extremists to attack America, as well as our partners and friends.

“Refugees--many of them women and children--already undergo an extremely comprehensive and thorough U.S. Government vetting process before being admitted, including scrutiny by the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Department, intelligence agencies, and others. Applicants for this status are held to the highest level of security screening through which we evaluate travelers or immigrants to the United States, and the process typically takes between 18-24 months. If U.S. security agencies cannot verify details of a potential refugee’s story, that individual is not allowed to enter the United States. 

“The fact that refugees want to make the United States their new home should be a source of pride for us. Even as President Trump threatens our principles in the short term, American values will prevail in the end.”

Congressman Smith Statement on President Trump’s Indiscriminate Federal Hiring Freeze

Congressman Smith released the following statement in response to President Trump’s executive order calling for a hiring freeze of federal workers:

January 26, 2017

“President Trump has failed to show that he understands the difference between a presidential campaign and the serious business of governing. To solve the challenging problems the President will undoubtedly face, he should review the facts, as well as engage in pragmatic conversation and thoughtful debate. President Trump’s current approach to governance, reliant on gimmicks and sound bites, seems doomed to fail from the beginning.

“Any successful government or business leader understands that forcing indiscriminate cuts and hiring freezes on no merits-- other than to fulfill a misguided campaign promise-- is the wrong approach. This across-the-board hiring freeze only serves to undermine the efficiency and effectiveness of our Federal government, create uncertainty for our economy, and impose untold impacts on both Washington state and the country.

“This incredibly short-sighted move to bar federal hiring will have an enormous impact on the care of our nation’s veterans, denying them access to essential care and resources. As recently as this past fall, the Department of Veterans Affairs had a staggering 45,000 job openings nationwide. With an average of more than 20 veterans taking their own lives each day, President Trump has decided to slam the door shut on critical mental health care providers, physicians, and other staff from being hired to help former service members get the care they need. The VA Puget Sound Healthcare System in Seattle is not spared from this, and is still without a permanent director for the foreseeable future.  This rash move is an embarrassment.

“As if to justify the freeze, the Trump Administration has alluded to a dramatic expansion of the federal workforce in recent years. In reality, the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms a very different set of facts. In December 2016, there were 2.8 million employees on the federal payroll. This is a 3 percent increase since May 2014. In comparison, the total civilian workforce, excluding federal employees, grew by about 4.9 percent between May 2014 and December 2016. In truth, the number of federal employees is approximately the same now, 2.8 million, as the number when President Barack Obama took office, 2.79 million. Even under the Administration of Republican President Ronald Reagan, federal employment never dipped as low as it is today. Mr. Trump should check the veracity of his talking points.”

Smith Statement on President Trump's Misguided Immigration Executive Order

Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s announcement of immigration focused executive actions today:

January 25, 2017

“The immigration system in the United States is broken and needs to be reformed. Building unnecessary walls, attacking local law enforcement by threatening grant funding, demanding costly mass deportation, and damaging relationships with international partners is misguided and reprehensible. Instead, we must have a clear, humane and legal way for those who seek to come to our country to flee violence and instability, or seek new opportunities, to build a better life in the United States.

“I agree that a secure border is important for our national security. Contrary to the inflammatory rhetoric that President Trump chose to espouse during his campaign, our southern border is more secure today than it has been in decades. From 2006 to 2016, the United States drastically increased our border security budget, which has contributed to the fact that we have had zero net immigration from Mexico for the last three years. The United States has taken responsibility for our border security, and any claims that Mexico should or will pay for a wall is not only foolish but illustrates the President's disturbing ignorance when it comes to foreign affairs.

“I am dedicated to fixing our immigration system. A comprehensive solution must include immediate changes to our inhumane and costly private immigration detention facilities that lack proper safety oversight. Allowing immigrants to become productive members of our society will only strengthen our communities, our economy, and our country's future. I applaud our region’s local mayors and Governor Inslee for stating clearly that Washington state will remain a safe haven for those in search of safety. Our local leaders understand that maintaining safe communities and protecting the rights of recent immigrants are do not conflict with one another.
“In Congress, I have strongly advocated for deportation relief, reforms to our immigration detention policies, and for comprehensive immigration reform that provides justice and equity for all people, regardless of where they were born. I join my colleagues in saying unequivocally that Washington state should stand by our values and fight to keep families together.”