Press Releases

Congressman Smith Statement on Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith issued the following statement on the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus bill passed by the House and Senate today:

December 18, 2015

“Today I voted to pass the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Act. The bill provides for $1.067 trillion of discretionary spending, following the two-year budget agreement signed into law in October 2015, as well as $73.693 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds. The Omnibus bill passed by the House and the Senate today funds our national and economic security for the next year, and is an important step towards Congress fulfilling its responsibility to the American people to meet our fiscal obligations for the next year. 

“The Omnibus bill includes funding for programs that invest in our future and support education, encourage economic growth, and modernize our infrastructure. It is reassuring that Republicans showed a willingness to compromise and removed a number of ideological riders that were debated throughout the failed FY 2016 appropriations process earlier this year. This Omnibus bill and the certainty it will provide our economy, the Department of Defense, and the entire federal government is preferable to governing from budget crisis to budget crisis. The agreement provides a one-year window of opportunity to address our core budget problems in the long-term.   

“Congress, together with the American people, must have an honest conversation about the budget realities that we face. We must use the time that this Omnibus bill provides to engage in productive conversations to agree to a long-term spending plan that supports the middle class and grow our economy.”

Congressman Smith Statement on Tax Extenders Legislation

Congressman Adam Smith issued the following statement on the tax extenders package:

December 17, 2015

“I voted against the tax extender bill considered in the House today because it is inequitable and leaves our nation’s finances worse off. The $622 billion tax package extends many tax breaks while ignoring the reality that we simply do not collect enough revenue to fund the important programs that help create a strong economy.

“While a number of helpful provisions are included, such as a permanent extension of both the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit and the State & Local Sales Tax Deduction, the enormous cost of this un-paid for bill and its impact on the deficit is concerning. Ultimately, positive aspects of this tax package do not come close to outweighing the legislation’s imbalanced priorities and decreased revenues. 

“Over the last fifteen years, we have cut revenue by trillions of dollars and seen our debt increase substantially while our infrastructure has suffered. If we hope to balance the budget while expanding economic opportunity, investing in innovation and infrastructure, and strengthening the working class, we must adopt a responsible tax system. We need sound and forward-looking policies to address our budget issues in a comprehensive way that properly balances spending priorities while raising revenue.” 

Ranking Member Smith Statement on Donald Trump's Irresponsible Rhetoric

Ranking Member Smith released the following statement in response to Donald Trump’s recent remarks:

December 8, 2015

Our nation’s diversity is our greatest strength. In the strongest possible terms, I condemn Donald Trump’s recent proposal to bar all Muslims from entering the United States. This rhetoric follows earlier absurd statements from Mr. Trump calling for the creation of a database to track Muslims in our communities, under the guise of protecting national security. With these irrational statements, Mr. Trump both misrepresents Americans and puts our national security at risk by doing exactly what ISIS wants. These unintelligent words feed the anti-American narrative and empower ISIS to incorrectly paint the American people as anti-Islamic.

The United States is proud to be a nation of immigrants founded on the equal protection of all. I am deeply honored to represent an incredibly diverse district, and I believe in following through on the promise of ensuring the fundamental rights of life, liberty and equal opportunity, for all groups of people. 

Congressman Smith Statement on Passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act

Washington D.C. – Congressman Smith released the following statement on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act:

December 3, 2015

I am pleased that the House passed a bipartisan reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that replaces the flawed policies of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). I voted for S. 1177, the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) because reauthorizing the ESEA is the most important action Congress can take to fix the flawed NCLB law. The ESEA technically expired on September 30th of 2007, yet until now Congress had failed to pass a new reauthorization, resulting in devastating impacts on our schools’ ability to succeed. 

NCLB placed unreasonable standards on students, teachers, and administrators, and led to award-winning schools being labeled as failing. The consequences of NCLB have been felt directly in Washington state where, since the 2014 loss of a U.S. Department of Education waiver, 88 percent of schools have been deemed to be failing under NCLB standards, even when that is clearly not the case. The new ESSA law ends the need for waivers for states and replaces the one-size-fits-all approach of NCLB’s federal accountability system by shifting authority for academic standards and school accountability back to states and local school districts.

The bipartisan ESSA conference agreement passed by the House includes aspects that are important to our region, including federal dollars to support locally-tailored improvement in the highest-need schools. The bill also authorizes the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant program that allocates federal funds based on need, population, as well as school district-identified opportunity gaps in to keep students safe and healthy students, promote well rounded education opportunities such as foreign language and STEM and encourage the effective use of technology in schools. Further, this education legislation improves the Migrant Education Program to prioritize services for migrant students who have dropped out of school. ESSA is a much needed step towards promoting fair and equal access to quality public education and helps reduce disparities between students.

Since it was first enacted in 1965, the ESEA has played a key role in providing equal access to quality public education and helping to reduce educational inequalities. Significant work still remains to ensure that all of our students, regardless of where they live, receive high-quality instruction, and I remain committed to working with my colleagues to support students throughout our country.

Ranking Member Adam Smith Statement on Secretary Carter’s Announcement to Open All Combat Positions to Women

Washington D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith released the following statement on the announcement that Secretary Carter will allow for all military positions to be open to women:

December 3, 2015

“I applaud Secretary of Defense Ash Carter for taking action on policy guidelines that close certain combat occupations to women. As a result of these changes, anyone, regardless of gender, who can meet operationally relevant standards, will have the opportunity to serve in any position in the Armed Forces of the United States.

Prior to today’s announcement, certain exceptions allowed for women to be barred from various combat roles in the military. This critical step towards allowing women to serve in all levels of our military is a strong move towards achieving full equality in our Armed Forces. Today’s announcement is a response to extensive review by the Department of Defense of policies governing the assignment of women in the Armed Forces. The Department of Defense is opening to women the approximately 213,600 previously closed positions spanning 52 closed military occupational specialties. This announcement follows five years of detailed review of current policies.  

As we saw earlier this year, two women made history as the first female soldiers to complete the Army's Ranger School. Men and woman can, and should, be held to the same standard in the military.  I am a committed supporter of equality. I recognize that there is a lot of work that remains to be done to ensure that all Americans are equal under the law, and will continue to advocate for further review of existing policies that ensure equal rights for all service members.”