Press Releases

Washington D.C. On June 10, 2016, Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA)and Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) introduced bipartisan legislation, The Adoptee Citizenship Act, H.R. 5454, to guarantee citizenship to international adoptees. Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate, S.2275 by Senator Klobuchar (D-MN) and Senator Coats (R-IN). Often, when children are adopted, the required paperwork is not filed and the children are never naturalized. With the passage of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, most international adoptees were granted citizenship. Unfortunately, the bill did not apply to adoptees who were already over the age of 18 when it was enacted into law in 2000. The Adoptee Citizenship Act, would fix this arbitrary oversight and grant citizenship to people who were legally adopted and were age 18 or older in the year 2000 when the Child Citizenship Act was signed into law.

“This bill seeks to carry forward the vision of the original Child Citizenship Act of 2000, which sought to ensure that adopted children and biological children are treated equally under U.S. law. It will extend citizenship to foreign born adoptive children who have joined their forever families here in the United States," said Congressman Smith. "Unfortunately, not all adoptees were able to benefit from the legislation when it originally passed, as it was limited to apply only to minors age 18 and under. Adopted individuals should not be treated as second class citizens just because they happened to be the wrong age when the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 was passed.”

“The Adoptee Citizenship Act closes a loophole and in so doing, brings hope to thousands of adoptees who were lawfully adopted and have lived their entire lives knowing only the United States as home, and yet, may never have been able to exercise their rights of citizenship due to lack of paperwork stemming from the circumstances surrounding their adoption," said Congressman Franks. "Elevating the voices of adoptees here in Congress has been a priority for me as co-chair of the Adoption Coalition, and I am so grateful to be able to jointly introduce this very bipartisan initiative with my colleague Congressman Smith. I look forward to working together to ensure the legislation moves forward.”



“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attack in Orlando, the worst mass shooting in United States history. I offer my deepest condolences to the victims and their families. I would like to extend particular sympathies to the LGBTQ community during this unspeakable tragedy.

“As authorities investigate this horrific shooting, America must speak with one voice against gun violence of any kind. We can and must do more to confront the crisis that continues to afflict our country.” 

“Memorial Day is a time to honor the ultimate sacrifice of those who have given their lives in service to our country. Our gratitude extends to our fallen heroes, our veterans, and active duty servicemembers and their families. We owe our servicemembers our deepest level of respect. A true reflection of Memorial Day must reaffirm that America’s commitment to supporting our military men and women does not end when they leave active duty.

“As veterans, the men and women of our armed forces continue to serve their country long after their military service has ended. As teachers, community members and civic leaders, veterans contribute to peace and prosperity at home. On Memorial Day, we must continue to show our gratitude to the servicemembers, veterans, and their families whose contributions continue to protect Americans everyday.” 

Smith Statement Condemning NRA Propaganda Video

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement today in response to the National Rifle Association’s release of a misguided video:

May 25, 2016

“The National Rifle Association’s (NRA) latest video shows how out of touch it is with finding common sense solutions to the issues of the day. In 2013, the year in which the most recent data is available, there were 27,329 deaths involving firearms, with 11,208 of those being homicides. Instead of trying to fix the nationwide health epidemic of shootings, which has resulted in the tragic deaths of far too many Americans, the NRA has turned its misguided aim on Iran. Instead of irresponsibly fanning the flames of war, it should advocate for sensible gun control laws to eliminate the unconscionable and rampant gun violence plaguing our nation. 

“The NRA’s uninformed foray into serious national security issues has the potential to exacerbate tensions in a region already beset by conflict. This xenophobic propaganda makes no attempt at presenting long-term solutions to bring about peace and stability.  Simply put, the NRA should focus its time, energy, and efforts to address the problems it helped create before it mistakenly pretends to be an expert on foreign policy which could potentially result in the deaths of even more Americans. As a country, we must work to limit senseless gun violence, keep our communities safe, and advance constructive approaches to national security issues.”

King Co. Delegation Secures Boost in Local Rental Assistance

Today, the congressional delegation representing Washington’s King County in sending a letter to thank the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for answering their call for increased local rental assistance in 2016 to reflect the region’s rapidly escalating rental costs. The delegation also continued to press for a permanent fix to the inflation formula in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, which provides rental assistance to low-income households.

May 24, 2016

Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray joined Reps. DelBene, Jim McDermott, Adam Smith and Dave Reichert in sending a letter to HUD Secretary Julián Castro, following up on their letter from June 2015. The current HCV formula has been particularly damaging in areas with steep increases in rental costs, such as the Puget Sound region. 

“We greatly appreciate HUD’s efforts to address the consequences of this policy for families across the country, including in the Puget Sound region, where our local rental market has seen some of the fastest growing rental costs in the nation,” the letter states. “However, unless HCV inflation factors continue to be aligned with local rental costs, families could be forced to live in neighborhoods that are farther from employment opportunities, with higher levels of poverty and lower performing schools.”

Last June, DelBene led the delegation in calling on HUD to take action after the King County Housing Authority saw a 26 percent increase in rental costs between 2014 and 2015, but did not receive a HCV inflation adjustment due to the flawed formula. For 2016, the agency provided a 12 percent increase to King County to reflect substantial growth in local rental costs, but still hasn’t established a permanent solution to avoid similar problems in the future.

A copy of the signed letter is available HERE, and the full text follows:

Dear Secretary Castro:

We write to express our gratitude for the Department’s improvements to the methodology for determining the renewal funding inflation factors used to allocate Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) funds among Public Housing Authorities (PHAs). In particular, we appreciate HUD’s decision to incorporate two prior years of rental data in determining inflation factors for 2016, addressing the serious unintended consequences of last year’s calculations on areas with rapidly escalating rental costs — including the Puget Sound region in Washington state. We encourage HUD to continue working to establish a permanent solution to ensure the methodology fully captures variability across local rental markets in future years.

Prior to 2012, the HCV renewal funding inflation factors were determined primarily using Consumer Price Index (CPI) data that account for variations in rent and utility inflation among different geographic regions — the same indicators used to calculate the Fair Market Rents (FMR) for areas across the United States. This was a well-reasoned and equitable formula, as PHAs are required to establish the level of subsidies they provide to HCV recipients using the FMR. In 2012, however, HUD updated its methodology to allocate HCV renewal funds among PHAs based on expected changes in the national Per-Unit Cost (PUC) for the HCV program. While this methodology may be effective when the change in PUC is positive, as was the case between 2012 and 2014, it has extraordinarily damaging consequences when the national PUC declines. Between 2014 and 2015, when the expected change in PUC was negative, no area in the nation — regardless of how steeply rental costs climbed — received an inflation factor. 

We greatly appreciate HUD’s efforts to address the consequences of this policy for families across the country, including in the Puget Sound region, where our local rental market has seen some of the fastest growing rental costs in the nation. As we wrote to you on June 19, 2015, the King County Housing Authority saw a 26 percent increase in their neighborhoods’ FMR between 2014 and 2015 — and in 2016, the local FMR rose another 7.6 percent. During such periods of rapidly rising rents, it is imperative the HCV inflation factor be commensurate with local rental costs. That’s why we were pleased to see HUD publish a methodology for 2016 that incorporates regional changes since 2014, providing the King County region with an inflation factor of 12 percent in 2016.

However, unless HCV inflation factors continue to be aligned with local rental costs, families could be forced to live in neighborhoods that are farther from employment opportunities, with higher levels of poverty and lower performing schools. This risks concentrating wealth, increasing racial disparities, and limiting the career and educational opportunities available to lower-income families. To limit such consequences, we encourage HUD to continue incorporating stakeholder feedback and making adjustments to the HCV inflation factor methodology to effectively measure changes in local rental markets going forward.

The HCV program is built on the promise of providing the most vulnerable members of our community with safe, affordable housing, in order to expand access to economic opportunity nationwide. By ensuring the HCV program fully captures variations in local rental markets and awards funding accordingly, we can ensure PHAs have the necessary funding to meet these critical goals. We appreciate your efforts on this matter and we look forward to continuing to work with you to meet the housing needs of low-income families across the country.