Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) announced his bid to run for Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. As Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, Smith sent the following letter to his Democratic colleagues in the House of Representatives:

“Together, we have made strides on national security issues but much more must be done to conduct vigorous oversight of the Trump Administration and the Department of Defense. Specifically, we must look to eliminate inefficiency and waste at the DOD; boost oversight of sensitive military operations and ensure that the military works to avoid civilian casualties; protect our environmental laws nationwide; advance green technology in defense; take substantial steps to reduce America’s overreliance on nuclear weapons; and promote greater transparency in national security matters.
“It is important that we have a military that reflects the United States in all of its diversity as well as a Defense Department that engages with businesses of all sizes and from all communities. We need inclusive armed services that can attract the best, most talented people without arbitrary and discriminatory barriers that narrow the field of people who can serve their country. I will continue to work with you to ensure that the United States’ military is equipped to play an effective role in our defense, while appropriately responding to new and evolving threats and challenges. It is critical that we ensure our service members and their families continue to have access to quality benefits, assistance programs, and medical care.”

Below is the full text of the letter:

Dear Democratic Colleagues:

During the 115th Congress, it has been an honor to serve as the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Armed Services and represent the Democratic Caucus on national security matters. As we begin to organize for the 116th Congress, I am asking for your support to serve our caucus as Chairman of the Committee on Armed Services.

Together, we have made strides on national security issues but much more must be done to conduct vigorous oversight of the Trump Administration and the Department of Defense. Specifically, we must look to eliminate inefficiency and waste at the DOD; boost oversight of sensitive military operations and ensure that the military works to avoid civilian casualties; protect our environmental laws nationwide; advance green technology in defense; take substantial steps to reduce America’s overreliance on nuclear weapons; and promote greater transparency in national security matters.

It is important that we have a military that reflects the United States in all of its diversity as well as a Defense Department that engages with businesses of all sizes and from all communities. We need inclusive armed services that can attract the best, most talented people without arbitrary and discriminatory barriers that narrow the field of people who can serve their country. I will continue to work with you to ensure that the United States’ military is equipped to play an effective role in our defense, while appropriately responding to new and evolving threats and challenges. It is critical that we ensure our service members and their families continue to have access to quality benefits, assistance programs, and medical care.

Every Member of our caucus has an interest in national security and their voices need to be heard. As Ranking Member, I have always sought to remain available to all Members and have valued the opportunity to visit military installations in districts throughout the country. Through these visits, and in numerous conversations with Members of our caucus, I have gained a greater understanding of the issues our constituents face. This outreach has given me greater opportunities to advance policies that are at the core of our Democratic values and principles.

As our country continues to face great challenges, I am committed to fighting for the national security principles and goals of the Democratic Caucus. I want to make sure every Member knows I will always have an open door for them and their staffs on issues that are important to them.

While we organize for the 116th Congress, I would be honored to receive your support to serve as the Chairman of the House Committee on Armed Services. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me directly at 202-225-8901.

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in response to the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions:

“As Attorney General, Jeff Sessions actively undermined voting rights and civil rights. Sessions has a horrific record when it comes to protecting the individual rights of American citizens, and I expressed my serious concerns with him at the time that he was nominated. I am however, worried that Sessions’ firing today could possibly signal an effort by President Trump to undermine the ongoing Mueller investigation into the foreign interference that took place during the 2016 election. We in Congress will do everything we can to push back against that eventuality. We must affirm our commitment to protecting the integrity of the Mueller investigation and making sure the President does not interfere with its conclusions.”

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA), House Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), House Oversight & Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), and 104 other House Democrats sent a letter calling on Secretary Mattis to provide answers about his deployment of 5,200 additional U.S. troops to the border, including how much the deployment will cost, how long the deployment will last, and what the rules of engagement will be.

“The United States can maintain a secure border and the rule of law while still upholding our country’s values to protect those fleeing persecution and violence. The use of military personnel, however, will not help us meet this challenge and only exacerbates the potential to unnecessarily escalate the situation,” the Members wrote in part.

The letter continues, “Instead of working in a bipartisan manner to make comprehensive, common-sense, and humane reforms to our immigration system, the President continues to turn to politically-motivated fear mongering and uses DOD resources and personnel as means to drive his troubling anti-immigration agenda.”

The full text of the letter is as follows, and a full list of co-signers is below. The letter can be found at this link

Dear Secretary Mattis,

We are writing today to express our opposition to the decision to use additional troops on the southern border to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Congress was recently notified that the Administration is sending an additional 5,200 troops to the border without a long-term plan or an analysis of the effectiveness of previous deployments from this year.

The United States can maintain a secure border and the rule of law while still upholding our country’s values to protect those fleeing persecution and violence. The use of military personnel, however, will not help us meet this challenge and only exacerbates the potential to unnecessarily escalate the situation. This effort is nothing short of a militarization of the southern border to score political points and stoke misleading fears among Americans regarding immigrants. In addition, this decision negatively impacts the readiness of our military personnel who could be training to increase their effectiveness in line with their assigned missions and expertise.

This latest announcement follows a series of actions the President has taken this year to use the military to support his failed immigration policies. Earlier this year, National Guard troops were deployed to the southern border at a cost of $103 million, with no evidence to date of the necessity or effectiveness of their deployment. Furthermore, the Department of Defense (DOD) supported requests from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to shelter as many as 20,000 unaccompanied migrant children and 12,000 family members. Lastly, DOD internally approved $7.5 million for advanced planning for a 37-mile border barrier at the Barry M. Goldwater Range that could cost as much as $450 million. Instead of working in a bipartisan manner to make comprehensive, common-sense, and humane reforms to our immigration system, the President continues to turn to politically-motivated fear mongering and uses DOD resources and personnel as means to drive his troubling anti-immigration agenda.

The President has exploited the caravan of people traveling to the U.S. to seek asylum for his own political gain, and he continues to politicize and militarize this humanitarian crisis as these men, women, and children are fleeing violence and persecution in an unstable part of the world. This is another example of the President using fear-mongering tactics over a humanitarian issue. This use of military personnel and resources for functions outside of core mission areas warrants additional Congressional oversight.

Given this disparate approach, we request an update to answer the following questions:

1. What is the duration of the recent deployment to the southern border for the personnel deployed and to be deployed?

2. How many personnel will come from each component of the military i.e. active duty, National Guard and Reserve?

3. What rules of engagement will troops be under with regard to individuals in the caravan or any other individuals approaching or coming across the southern border?

4. Have any troops been instructed or trained on how to interact or engage in any way with individuals in the caravan? If so, what is the nature of the expected interaction and what training have these troops received for these interactions?

5. How much will this deployment cost the American taxpayer?

With all of these pressing concerns in mind, we request a briefing and written response to answer the questions above, and we request an overview of the current strategy. We look forward to your response and thank you for your attention on this matter.

Sincerely,

Reps. Adam Smith, Bennie G. Thompson, Jerrold Nadler, Elijah E. Cummings, Mark Pocan, David Cicilline, James P. McGovern, Carolyn Maloney, Frank Pallone, Jr., Nydia M. Velázquez, Ruben Kihuen, Joe Courtney, Marcy Kaptur, Colleen Hanabusa, Brenda Lawrence, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Adriano Espaillat, Richard E. Neal, Robert Brady, Linda T. Sanchez, Wm. Lacy Clay, Yvette D. Clarke, Donald M. Payne, Jr., William R. Keating, Scott Peters, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Ruben Gallego, Rick Larsen, Jim Langevin, Madeleine Z. Bordallo, John Garamendi, Jan Schakowsky, Mike Thompson, Debbie Dingell, Suzanne Bonamici, Thomas R. Suozzi, Jim Cooper, Chellie Pingree, Suzan K. DelBene, Peter Welch, Salud Carbajal, Jimmy Panetta, Grace F. Napolitano, Diana DeGette, Seth Moulton, Eric Swalwell, Albio Sires, Steve Cohen, Hakeem Jeffries, Donald Norcross, Pramila Jayapal, Mark Takano, Alcee L. Hastings, Mike Doyle, Luis V. Gutiérrez, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Darren Soto, Jim Himes, Filemon Vela, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Paul Tonko, Earl Blumenauer, Donald S. Beyer Jr., Marc Veasey, Marcia L. Fudge, Alan Lowenthal, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Frederica S. Wilson, Pete Visclosky, Barbara Lee, David E. Price, Julia Brownley, G.K. Butterfield, Anthony G. Brown, Jose Serrano, Cedric Richmond, Mark DeSaulnier, Gwen Moore, Beto O’Rourke, Daniel T. Kildee, Jamie Raskin, Emanuel Cleaver, II, Dina Titus, John Yarmuth, Richard M. Nolan, Susan Davis, Bobby L. Rush, Ted Lieu, Charlie Crist, Judy Chu, Ro Khanna, John Lewis, Carol Shea-Porter, Raúl M. Grijalva, Denny Heck, Keith Ellison, Kathleen M. Rice, Donald McEachin, Norma Torres, Tulsi Gabbard, Karen Bass, Nita Lowey, John B. Larson, Brad Schneider, Danny K. Davis, and Vicente Gonzalez.

About Highline Public Schools
Highline Public Schools serves around 19,000 students grades K-12 in the communities of Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, SeaTac and White Center in Washington State. Highline has 32 schools, employs over 2,000 staff members, and offers a wide variety of educational opportunities from early childhood to college preparation. Highline is committed to equity in education, high expectations for all, and partnering with families and the community to ensure all children achieve their potential.

Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement about National Security Advisor John Bolton’s announcement that President Trump is planning to host Vladimir Putin in Washington, DC, early next year:

“What happened in Helsinki cannot be repeated. I am very concerned that a visit to Washington, DC, could produce another embarrassing spectacle in which President Trump attempts to reorient our policies toward Russia in ways that undermine U.S. national security and our commitment to democratic values worldwide. Dialogue with Russia is needed, but President Trump has continued to demonstrate his disturbing affinity towards President Putin, including his continued denial of Russia’s meddling in our 2016 elections and his failure to devote sufficient resources to secure our elections moving forward. The United States should not condone the activities of authoritarian regimes that aim to erode freedom of the press, silence their dissidents, and pose a threat to democratic values.”