Press Releases

Highline priority passes as part of National Defense Authorization Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), the ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, and U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Commerce Aviation Operations, Safety, & Security Subcommittee, today announced the inclusion of an provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to provide Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding for noise mitigation projects at schools in the Highline School District in Burien, WA.

“This is a great example of how all levels of government can come together to solve a problem. Highline School District has been working tirelessly to meet the terms of the agreement with the FAA to help mitigate noise pollution that the schools experience. The provision in the NDAA was crafted with bipartisan, bicameral support and will help ensure that promises made to our local schools are kept. I thank Senator Cantwell and the Port of Seattle for their advocacy on this critical issue. Having grown up in SeaTac myself, I know it is important to fight for our children’s right to a safe and healthy learning environment,” said Congressman Smith.

“These noise mitigation projects are critical to the Highline School District and providing a comfortable and productive learning environment for all students,” said Senator Cantwell. “I was proud to work with Congressman Smith, the Port of Seattle, and Highline School District to get this critical funding across the finish line.”

Sea-Tac Airport is located in the center of Highline School District and many of the district’s schools are impacted by airport noise. A 2002 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Port of Seattle, the FAA, and Highline School District outlined noise mitigation for a number of Highline School District schools. Since the MOA was signed, the Port and the Highline School District met their portion of the funding obligation. During that time, the noise contours around the airport changed, leaving the two schools in areas where they did not qualify for the previously agreed upon funding.

In May, Smith offered an amendment to the NDAA – pushed by Sen. Cantwell in the Senate – to fix the issue by allowing the FAA to provide noise mitigation funding to schools like Highline that no longer qualified for the previously committed funding because of the noise contour changes.  The amendment will give the district access to more than $14 million in FAA Airport Improvement Grants for noise mitigation projects including replacement of doors, windows, and the installation of through-the-wall AC units, or for new construction to include noise mitigation.

“We are deeply grateful to Rep. Smith and Senator Cantwell for their efforts to ensure that the FAA follows through on its commitment to fund noise insulation at our schools impacted by Sea-Tac International Airport. Our students deserve the highest quality learning environments we can provide them and this will help us do just that,” said Highline Superintendent Susan Enfield.

“The Port is committed to economic opportunity and quality of life for all local residents, and there is no more important investment in our communities than modern, clean, and quiet schools for our students. Senator Cantwell and Congressman Smith’s leadership to ensure federal noise-insulation funding for these Highline School District schools is a major victory in that effort,” said Courtney Gregiore, President of the Port of Seattle Commission.

Sen. Cantwell offered the language last year in the Senate’s FAA Reauthorization bill, and similar language was offered in the House version of the FAA bill. Rep. Smith ensured its inclusion and ultimate passage in the final NDAA bill. Following today’s passage of the NDAA in the House, the legislation is expected to pass in the Senate and be signed by the president.

 

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) introduced legislation designating the post office at 4301 NE 4th Street in Renton, Washington as the James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix Post Office. The post office is less than one mile from the site of where Hendrix is buried at Greenwood Memorial Park and is located on the same street as his childhood home.

“Renaming the Renton Highlands Post Office the ‘Jimi Hendrix Post Office Building’ is one more way we can celebrate the legacy of one of the greatest musicians of our time and the importance of the south Seattle and Renton areas in his enduring legacy. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame calls Hendrix, ‘the most gifted instrumentalist of all time, a self-taught electric guitarist whose fluid, immersive style was perfectly suited to embrace – and then revolutionize – the late 60’s psychedelic rock movement.’ The Puget Sound Region is home to a museum that showcases Hendrix’s life and work, a park dedicated to his memory, and several memorials visited by thousands every year. This designation will further honor this iconic artist and his Seattle roots,” said Congressman Adam Smith.

The legislation is supported by each member of the Washington state Delegation.

 

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), the Ranking Member on the House Armed Services Committee, today announced the inclusion of a package of provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that will provide critical support for the U.S. Department of Energy’s ongoing cleanup mission at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state.  

“It is the federal government’s moral and legal obligation to ensure that the communities surrounding Hanford are cared for, the employees working on the clean-up are respected and safe, and our environment is remediated and protected. Our country’s security owe much to the sacrifices made by the Hanford workers  and their communities in support of the nuclear defense programs that created the nuclear waste a currently stored at Hanford,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “The provisions contained in this year’s NDAA contribute to ensuring that the federal government fulfills its obligation to the Pacific Northwest for the safe remediation of the Hanford nuclear facility.”

Congressman Smith successfully fought to ensure that the following provisions were included in the NDAA:

  • Increased Budget allocations for Nuclear Clean-up: Authorizes an additional $50 million for Hanford site clean-up at the Central Plateau. 
  • Pressing for nuclear safety and whistleblower protection: Includes a provision stating that the Secretary of Energy should impose civil penalties on contractors for violations of Department of Energy (DOE) rules, regulations, and orders relating to nuclear safety and radiation protection. It also enhances accountability by requiring notification of whether the Department of Energy has imposed any of these penalties pursuant to its authorities. This provision was in response to a 2016 GAO report that found that the Department of Energy had very infrequently used its enforcement authority to hold contractors accountable for unlawful retaliation.
  • Improved Transparency: Requires regular briefings to Congress on vapor problems at the Hanford site.
  • Increased Accountability: Requires prompt congressional notification in the case of air release of radioactive or hazardous contamination at Hanford, and requires congressional briefings on cause, estimated timeline and costs for addressing such contamination.
  • Recommits to the Hanford Waste Tank Clean-Up Program: Includes Congressman Dan Newhouse’s amendment to extend the Hanford waste tank clean-up program until 2024.

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives Smith, Khanna, O’Rourke, and Pocan made the following statements about major provisions on Yemen that House Armed Services Committee Democrats negotiated into the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA.) The bill passed the House today by a vote of 359-54.

“There is a terrible humanitarian crisis occurring in Yemen, and it deserves our attention in Washington,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “That’s why I successfully fought to include the following provisions while negotiating the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):

  • Addressing U.S. in-flight refueling of Saudi-coalition aircraft: Prohibits the in-flight refueling of Saudi Arabian or Saudi-led coalition non-U.S. aircraft conducting missions in Yemen, unless certifications are provided by the Secretary of State that the governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE are taking certain actions related to the civil war in Yemen. Also requires the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the administrator of USAID to detail a humanitarian support strategy for Yemen, including efforts to coordinate civilian and military efforts; the diplomatic strategy with respect to regional partners seeking to end the civil war; and the role that humanitarian support to civilian populations plays in U.S. strategy.
  • International human rights: Requires the Secretary of Defense to conduct a review to determine whether U.S. Armed Forces or U.S. partners have violated laws or internationally recognized human rights while conducting operations in Yemen, including those related to the interrogation of Yemeni citizens in prisons within Yemen. 
  • U.S. strategy and involvement on Yemen: Requires the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to Congress on the U.S. strategy and activities in Yemen, including: the diplomatic and security objectives; indicators for the effectiveness of U.S. military efforts to achieve such objectives or goals; and the costs associated with the military involvement of the U.S. Armed Forces in Yemen. 
  • Ex gratia payments: Extends authority for the U.S. to make ex gratia payments in Yemen for civilian casualties. 

“These will be major steps promoting accountability regarding Yemen’s civil war. I am pleased that we are able to make concrete progress on this issue,” Congressman Smith added. “I strongly urge all sides of this conflict to implement a countrywide cease-fire, and work with the U.N. Special Envoy to negotiate a peaceful resolution to this violence. In Congress, we will keep fighting for transparency and accountability on Yemen. We must be willing to continue to act in the face of this growing crisis.”

“I’ve taken bold actions since coming to Congress and worked to remedy the current humanitarian crisis in Yemen being caused by the Saudi-led war in Yemen,” said Congressman Ro Khanna. “As we break for August recess, I want to make it clear to the Saudi-led coalition that Congress is watching. We find additional military hostilities in Hodeida unacceptable and such action will prompt new congressional action. We hope the Saudi-led coalition will work with Martin Griffiths to choose diplomacy over war.”

“We are participating in the war in Yemen — I’m grateful that these provisions will ensure that more Americans have a better understanding of our involvement and its consequences,” said Congressman Beto O-Rourke.

“The provisions in this bill reflect deep, bipartisan concern in Congress over the mass hunger, cholera, and poverty engulfing the country of Yemen. The Trump Administration has expanded U.S. military participation alongside the Saudis and Emiratis in Yemen without Congressional authorization, aggravating the suffering of 8 million Yemenis on the brink of starvation. I look forward to Secretary Pompeo’s compliance with required reports to Congress on good-faith efforts being made by the Saudi coalition to end the war and alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Should the Trump administration tolerate a renewed escalation of hostilities, such as a siege on the vital city of Hodeida, I stand ready to work with my Democratic and Republican colleagues to end U.S. involvement in the conflict,” said Congressman Mark Pocan.

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of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; and Adam Schiff (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, called on senior Trump Administration officials to brief members of their committees on President Trump’s private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week in Helsinki. In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, the lawmakers underscored that the Administration has failed to inform Congress of the topics of the meeting or the agreements that Russian officials claim were negotiated.

“Democrats and Republicans alike were shocked to watch President Trump publicly side with Russia over its responsibility for interfering in the 2016 U.S. elections and directly contradict the Intelligence Community’s assessment. But we also have profound concerns over what was said privately and would appreciate the opportunity to discuss with each of you the national security matters that were discussed,” wrote the Ranking Members.

Full text of the letter follows and can be found here.

Secretary Pompeo, Secretary Mattis and Director Coats:

We are writing to formally request briefings of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) and House Armed Services Committee (HASC) regarding President Trump’s private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. 

On July 16, 2018, President Trump held a private meeting with President Putin, where one other U.S. government employee attended—a State Department interpreter. Since the meeting, Congress has received no notification from the White House or Executive Branch about the topics of the meeting or any purported deals or agreements reached on behalf of the United States. It also appears that President Trump’s cabinet has not been briefed on the private meeting, and Congress must be made aware of some of the potential deals or agreements that Russia claims were struck. 

Democrats and Republicans alike were shocked to watch President Trump publicly side with Russia over its responsibility for interfering in the 2016 U.S. elections and directly contradict the Intelligence Community’s assessment. But we also have profound concerns over what was said privately and would appreciate the opportunity to discuss with each of you the national security matters that were discussed, including Russia; its illegal occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea; ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine; ongoing sanctions policy towards Russia; Syria; the U.S. commitment to NATO and Article 5; counterterrorism cooperation; strategic stability and arms control; and China.  

We would appreciate your consideration of our request and hope to schedule a briefing with each of our committees by noon on July 26, 2018.

                                                           

Sincerely,

 

Eliot Engel

Ranking Member

Foreign Affairs Committee

 

Adam Smith

Ranking Member

Armed Services Committee

 

Adam B. Schiff

Ranking Member

Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence