Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement regarding the King v. Burwell Supreme Court Decision:

“The decision issued by the Supreme Court of the United States today ensures that American workers and middle class families, regardless of what state they live in, will be able to access affordable and quality healthcare.  Federal tax credits made available through the Affordable Care Act save lives by continuing to make healthcare affordable for millions of Americans, that would otherwise be out of the marketplace.  This decision ensures that those tax credits remain available. 
“The Affordable Care Act has now been upheld by the Supreme Court twice.  In that time, millions of Americans who couldn’t afford healthcare before, are now insured.   Instead of continuing to fight to repeal a law that has benefitted millions, I hope both Republicans and Democrats can come together to look for ways to improve upon the law, rather than continuing to fight to dismantle it.”

Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in support of Trade Adjustment Assistance:

“I voted in support of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) today because it allows workers in my district and across the country to access critical support to compete in our global economy. Those who are impacted from increased competition deserve to be retrained so they can reenter the job market. TAA will expire on September 30 and unless it is reauthorized, our workers will no longer have access to this assistance.

“Although I supported the bill, this is not the best reauthorization legislation the House could consider.  Unlike the TAA bill that I introduced with Ranking Member Levin earlier this year, today’s bill has several shortcomings, including one of critical concern.  This legislation cuts funding for worker training from $575 million to $450 million at a time when we are expanding markets and transforming our economy.  Should this funding not be sufficient, I hope the Administration is prepared to work with Congress to provide additional resources with the same vigor they’ve invested in passing TPA.

“Although I am glad to see that we are no longer paying for this program by cutting funds from Medicare, I remain disappointed that this bill does not qualify public sector workers for Trade Adjustment Assistance.  They are an important part of our workforce and should be able to qualify for access to the same services. 

“Our nation's economy and success depend on our workers.  Over the last decade, I have been a strong supporter of Trade Adjustment Assistance and have led the effort to protect, extend, and enhance the program.  Despite this bill being imperfect, I believe in this program and will continue this fight for good jobs, to ensure American workers can provide for their families, and that our country remains competitive.”

Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in support of Trade Adjustment Assistance: 

“The global economy, technological advancements, and increasing competition will continue to pressure workers and it is essential and only fair that we support and retrain those who lose their jobs as a result. With the Medicare cuts off the table, I voted in support of the House Trade Adjustment Assistance bill because it reestablishes critical training and support to these workers that have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.  Our nation's economy and success depend on our workers, and the strategy of opposing TAA to stop Trade Promotion Authority risks killing this critical program.  

“This version of TAA improves the current program because it reestablishes coverage for service sector workers and those who have lost their jobs to increased competition with countries like China. Over the last decade, I have been a strong supporter of the Trade Adjustment Assistance and have been a leader to protect, extend, and enhance the program.  I will continue to fight for American workers.”

Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement opposing Trade Promotion Authority:

“Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), as they are currently being discussed, do not do enough to protect workers and the environment at home and abroad. 

“The biggest problem facing our economy is a vanishing middle class. Corporations are incentivized to value customers, shareholders, and executives over their workers resulting in less take home pay and benefits.  This is evidenced by the bottom 90 percent of Americans owning just 23 percent of total U.S. wealth.  TPA and TPP are far from the only or even largest contributors, but they provide the wrong incentives allowing corporations to grow and benefit from undervaluing workers both here and abroad.

“This trade framework is skewed to benefit corporations; an example of this is the investor-state dispute settlement. This mechanism gives corporations the private right to sue countries directly for what they may deem to be discriminatory, unfair, or arbitrary treatment by the host government. Meanwhile, workers do not have the same right to action should a country violate its worker or environmental obligations under the agreement.  For example, if a corporation perceives that it is negatively impacted by a country’s enactment of a safety or environmental protection law it has the right to sue that country. However, violations brought by labor or environmental groups must go through a long and cumbersome process through the U.S. Government that can take several years.

“I believe in the benefits of trade and I have supported trade promotion authority and many trade deals in the past.  But I voted against the Central American Free Trade Agreement precisely because it lacked protections for labor and the environment.  In 2007, the May 10th Agreement was reached and it provided enforceable protections for workers and the environment.  However, the promises of this agreement have not yet been fully realized and much more work is left to be done.  Although on paper enforcement standards have improved, our government has not demonstrated to American and international workers its commitment to fully doing the job.

“I often hear an argument in support of TPA and TPP that if we don’t set the rules in Asia and the Pacific, China will do so. Although clearly better than China’s, our record is not stellar either. The 2013 Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh killed over 1,100 garment workers and injured 2,000 more due to a failure to ensure safe working conditions for workers. There were several American companies whose products were made at that factory by subcontractors with terrible labor and safety practices. Corporations should not skirt their responsibilities by using willful ignorance or global supply chains as an excuse to absolve them of their responsibility to ensure the health and safety of workers.

“Currency manipulation is another problem that remains unaddressed.  Until we find an effective way to ensure that other countries cannot devalue their currency to boost their exports, U.S. gains from trade will be limited. Finding a solution to currency manipulation matters to American workers and businesses. This agreement does not address this issue in a meaningful way.

“These concerns aside, I would be more inclined to support a trade deal if I believed that American and global corporate culture was committed to paying workers fairly and ensuring their safety in the workplace.  However, skyrocketing executive pay and huge stock buybacks at the expense of worker compensation convince me that there is an insufficient commitment to preserving the middle class. Too many businesses value executives, shareholders, and customers over workers, who today are not being adequately compensated for the work they do.

“I grew up in the SeaTac area where my father worked as a ramp serviceman for United Airlines and my mother stayed at home to raise the family. As a blue collar worker in the 1980s, my father was a member of the union and was paid $16 an hour with benefits. His job allowed him to provide for my family and to support my educational and professional goals.  Unfortunately, his job today would pay only $9.73, making it impossible for a family to enjoy the financial security and upward mobility mine did. 

“Trade agreements should create sound incentives and reinforce business cultures that value workers, as they have the ability to help spread these practices worldwide. We must do more to support the companies in the 9th District and around the country that are doing so already. Unfortunately, Wall Street and trade deals too often reward these companies’ competitors that improve their bottom line by shortchanging their employees--many of whom are not being adequately compensated for their work.

“In voting against TPA, it is my hope the Administration will take a step back and better engage on strengthening compliance with worker and environmental protections through trade agreements.  When I supported trade agreements in the past, I believed the commitment to strong enforcement would result in tangible improvements.  I want to be able to support future trade agreements, but until our record improves, these deals will fail to deliver on their promise of shared economic prosperity for American businesses and workers.”

Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement opposing the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (T-HUD) Appropriations bill:  

“Investments in our nation’s transportation network and infrastructure provide for thousands of jobs, the safety of our citizens, and the efficient movement of goods, all of which is critical for our economic growth.  Despite this, Congress has been unable to implement forward-thinking policies and spending on transportation programs.  The FY2016 T-HUD Appropriations bill is simply another failed attempt to responsibly invest in our infrastructure.  It ignores the fact that our roads, bridges and railways are crumbling, and instead locks in the indiscriminate cuts of sequestration, leading to woefully underfunded infrastructure programs like TIGER Grants and Amtrak.  Congress should not stand for this.

“Additionally, the FY2016 T-HUD Appropriations bill falls short in funding for housing and urban development.  The bill slashes funding for new Section 8 Rental Assistance vouchers and also does nothing to restore the 67,000 vouchers that were lost due to harmful sequestration cuts.  As most of the country continues to struggle from the Great Recession, we need to ensure families have the support necessary to work their way back into the economy.  This bill fails to provide that critical support.  

“Until Congress can come together and eliminate the harmful and mindless cuts of sequestration, funding for critical programs like transportation and housing will continue to be slashed.  I deeply understand the importance of improving infrastructure in the US and investing in housing and urban development programs, and despite the challenges, I will continue to do all I can to advocate for responsible investments in these priorities.”