Press Releases

Washington D.C.House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) and House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee Ranking Member Jim Cooper (D-TN) sent a letter to the acting chairman of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB), warning against President Trump’s plan to impose extensive, abrupt cuts to nuclear safety staff and gut nuclear safety oversight.

The following are excerpts from the letter:

“We write to express our strong concern about your abrupt plans for major reforms …announced August 15, 2018, with limited notice and input, to reorganize the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, particularly the ill-advised plan to cut your agency’s headquarters staff level by one third. Hamstringing your agency and targeting your technical staff that represent the core and strength of your agency would likely jeopardize the mission and capability of the Board to fulfill its important mission of ensuring nuclear safety across the nuclear enterprise.

“We have seen problems in maintaining nuclear criticality safety experts at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and there have been several safety violations in recent years.  In addition, the DNFSB provides critical oversight and recommendations related to the Environmental Management Program that funds and manages nuclear clean-up activities at sites across the nuclear complex, including Hanford which continues to face safety culture and worker contamination challenges, as well as expensive and complex construction projects.  In addition, the 2014 incident, caused by rupture of a radioactive drum that had been incorrectly packaged at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, resulted in a significant contamination release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico, and shut down repository operations for nearly three years. 

“Now is not the time to increase nuclear safety risk by making cuts to the experts whose primary mission is to provide independent nuclear safety oversight.  Coupled with changes in the Department of Energy’s recently proposed 140.1 order, your proposed change to cut DNFSB personnel would undermine the critical oversight on which an enduring, effective and safe nuclear enterprise depend.  

“We have yet to see any written analysis to explain the proposed cut to the Board’s staff by a third, and repeated requests by our committee staff for a detailed briefing on these proposed changes have gone unanswered. We strongly urge you and the Board to reconsider this change. In the meantime, we expect a more detailed explanation for this sweeping change that would have enduring implications and potential significant risk for ensuring nuclear safety.”

The full letter can be read HERE.

Washington, DC – Today, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement in remembrance of the anniversary of September 11, 2001:

"Today, we pause to remember the sacrifice and heroism of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. They and their deeds will never be forgotten. We must continue to fight to uphold the freedoms and values that they held dear."

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) release the following statement in response to H.R. 6691, the Community Security and Safety Act of 2018:

“Today I opposed H.R. 6691, the Community Security and Safety Act of 2018. This regressive bill will subject even more people to harsher treatment through an already broken criminal justice system. I steadfastly oppose it.

“This legislation was introduced less than a week ago in response to the Supreme Court’s April ruling in Dimaya vs. Sessions, which found the legal definition of “crimes of violence” to be unconstitutionally vague. H.R. 6691 creates an overly-expansive new definition of a “crime of violence.” Under this bill, what were previously relatively minor non-violent offenses now could carry significantly increased penalties and potential jail time. This legislation further exacerbates the injustices of our judicial system and moves the justice reform effort backwards. 

“House Republicans did nothing for four months following the Court’s ruling and then, today, forced a vote on their hasty attempt to fix the deficiencies identified by the Court.  Experts, community members, and local law enforcement officials were not consulted and no hearings were permitted, despite the far-reaching ramifications of this issue.

“We need to overhaul our judicial system by using evidence-based, state-tested reforms. We should be simplifying unnecessary federal regulatory crimes that lead to over-prosecution of minor offenses. I support legislation that ends racial profiling, promotes accountability, provides legal help to those in need, ends the use of private prisons, and restores fairness to our system of justice. We must continue to find alternative punitive and restorative steps for those who have committed offenses to help end the epidemic of mass incarceration.

“Additionally, we should work to reduce the recidivism rate in part by providing assistance to inmates who are returning home. There is broad support for legislation that helps with reentry and to provide equal employment opportunities.  I support “banning the box” and prohibiting federal agencies and primary federal contractors from asking about criminal history on an initial employment application. We know that once community members leave prison, we must support education and rehabilitation efforts to ensure that people who will eventually return home from prison will do so equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to reintegrate into society. 

“Bipartisan efforts and leadership at the federal level are essential to ensuring wider enactment of restorative justice programs, like those pioneered in Washington state. As we work towards common-sense reforms to our criminal justice system, I greatly value the continuing knowledge and opinions shared with me by constituents. I am committed to working with my colleagues to support protect civil liberties, increase transparency, and work to address bedrock issues that plague our criminal justice system.”

 

Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (WA-09) Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17), CPC Co-Chair Mark Pocan (WI-02), and their colleagues Jim McGovern (MA-02), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), Michael Capuano (MA-07), Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) released the following statement announcing their commitment to introduce a privileged resolution to withdraw U.S. Armed Forces from engaging in hostilities against Houthis in Yemen. This statement is released on the same day that UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths’ peace talks between the Houthis and the recognized Yemeni government are set to take place in Geneva.

“The people of Yemen face the world’s largest humanitarian catastrophe where 22 million people require humanitarian assistance and almost 18 million lack access to food. The conflict between the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis has significantly exacerbated this humanitarian crisis. It’s critical that the United States not choose sides in this war, and any American involvement can and must be debated transparently.

“The Saudi-led coalition continues military offensives and airstrikes that have killed civilians and worsened the humanitarian crisis. Earlier this month On August 9th, 40 Yemeni children were killed by a U.S.-supplied bomb used in a Saudi airstrike. For every Yemeni civilian killed in an airstrike, countless more perish from hunger and disease triggered and sustained by the war. The Saudi-led coalition, and all parties involved, must be held accountable for their actions contributing to this ongoing crisis.

“The National Defense Authorization Act requires the Trump Administration to certify whether the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are undertaking demonstrable actions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure and making urgent and good faith efforts to support diplomacy to end the civil war in Yemen. As the UN attempts to broker a ceasefire, it is imperative that the Saudi-led coalition halt fresh hostilities and planned offensives, particularly in and around the vital port city of Hodeidah. We are closely monitoring the actions of the Saudi-led coalition and the White House during these crucial peace negotiations.

“We are preparing to introduce a new, privileged resolution in September invoking the War Powers Resolution of 1973 to withdraw U.S. Armed Forces from engaging in the Saudi-led coalition’s conflict with the Houthis should additional escalations continue and progress fail to be made towards a peace agreement. There has been no specific authorization for the U.S. Armed Forces to engage in hostilities with respect to the conflict between the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis in Yemen. We must take action to end U.S. participation in this catastrophic war in Yemen and work to bring about a peaceful conclusion to this conflict.

“We look forward to working with our colleagues in a bipartisan fashion to secure cosponsors for our resolution and support for the measure when it comes to the floor for a vote.” 

Washington, D.C. – This week, Congressman Adam Smith introduced the House Intern Pay Act, legislation to set aside funds so that interns in each congressional office can be paid.

“Paid internships help to provide equality of opportunity for all and ensure Congressional offices in Washington, D.C. and local district offices benefit from a strong diversity of ideas and backgrounds to best represent constituents,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “It is important to provide everyone in our community the opportunity to engage in our legislative process and civic service, regardless of their wealth.”

Every year, hundreds of students and recent graduates come to Capitol Hill seeking to learn about and serve in Congress. In the past, many young people have had to begin their careers in policy and public service in unpaid internship positions.  For many others, working and interning without pay is simply not possible.  Unpaid internships severely limit the opportunities available to those who cannot afford to work for free, but who want to learn and serve.     

The House Intern Pay Act would help alleviate this problem by allowing for the payment of a living wage to interns in each Members’, Delegates’, and Resident Commissioner’s congressional office in the House of Representatives.  Specifically, this bill authorizes amounts to fund a full-time, year-round internship position in each Member’s Capitol Hill or district congressional office at a rate of $15 per hour.

Congress must do its part to ensure that a person’s means is not a barrier to civic engagement and public service.

This legislation is cosponsored by the following Members of Congress: Don Beyer (VA-8), Nydia Velázquez (NY-7), Madeleine Bordallo (Guam), Mark Pocan (WI-2), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Suzanne Bonamci (OR-1), Judy Chu (CA-27), Ted W. Lieu (CA-33), Denny Heck (WA-10), Betty McCollum (MN-4), Pramila Jayapal (WA-7).