Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement after voting to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, legislation which will address the crisis of systemic racism and police brutality.

“Almost one year ago, George Floyd was murdered by a police officer who knelt on his neck, suffocating him for over eight and a half minutes. For far too long, America has grieved George Floyd and countless others killed by police brutality, enduring profound pain and sadness without any accountability for the perpetrators of senseless, racist acts of violence. Systemic racism continues to permeate the fabric of our country’s institutions putting Black Americans and other communities of color at risk, but Americans from every walk of life across the country have been demanding action and change. Today, we honor the lives of all those killed by police brutality and systemic racism by passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

“The Justice in Policing Act takes a comprehensive approach to curb police brutality and end racial profiling. To raise the standard of conduct across the country, the bill implements a set of recommendations and best practices formulated by President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing drafted by over 150 police chiefs, sheriffs, mayors, community leaders, and other law enforcement professionals. The bill bans chokeholds and no-knock warrants, mandates racial bias training, and institutes a duty to intervene for officers observing police misconduct. It also mandates the use of body cameras on every uniformed police officer. The bill invests in transformative community-based policing programs and mandates rigorous data collection on police encounters to ensure law enforcement remains accountable and responsive to community needs.

“Departmental reforms are an essential step but there can be no justice without accountability. The bill reforms the doctrine of qualified immunity so that individuals and families who have been harmed or experienced police brutality can have their day in court without sacrificing due process. The bill also increases funding for investigations into departments that demonstrate a pattern and practice of discrimination and racial bias, establishes a task force to coordinate investigations related to law enforcement misconduct, and creates a National Police Misconduct Registry.

“It is vital to recognize that safeguarding public safety means investing directly in communities in ways that relieve the strain on police departments as the sole source of emergency assistance. This bill supports critical programs that reinvest in our communities by establishing public safety innovation grants for community-based organizations to create local commissions and task forces to help communities develop concrete alternative policing practices that create accountability.

“I stand in strong support of my colleagues on the Congressional Black Caucus who introduced the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, and I will continue to work with them to implement the dramatic changes required in all aspects of our society to end systemic racism. This bill is a great first step, but there is still much more work to be done to combat racial injustice and end police brutality. I will work with my colleagues and the Biden-Harris Administration to ensure this crucial legislation becomes law and build on this bill to address systemic racism, end police brutality, and saves lives.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement today after the House passed H.R. 1, the For the People Act, a package to protect and expand voting rights, restore integrity to government, and democracy reform put the needs and priorities of the American people ahead of special interests.

“Today, I voted with House Democrats to answer the call from the American people to restore our democracy with a broad package of reforms to take on campaign finance regulations, expand voting rights, and combat corruption with improved transparency and ethics in all three branches of the federal government. As we see a historic number of attacks and proposed restrictions on voting rights propagating in state legislatures across the country, Congress must make good on our promise to restore and protect the most basic and consequential civic duty of every American. Everyone must be guaranteed a voice in our democracy and H.R. 1 is a critical first step in restoring that promise.

“H.R. 1 will modernize voter registration and increase access to support free and fair elections with more equitable electoral practices fit for the 21st century. By instituting automatic voter registration, requiring early voting options, supporting voting by mail, and increasing voting locations especially near public transportation, this legislation will empower voters across our country and ensure their voices are heard at all levels of government. It ends the practice of partisan gerrymandering, which has allowed political parties to choose their voters when it should be voters picking their representatives. This bill will also take steps to end the dominance of big money in political campaigns by upgrading online political advertisement disclosures and requiring all organizations involved in political activity to disclose their large donors to prevent hidden sources of political spending.

“These protections will ultimately empower citizens and ensure their representatives remain transparent and accountable to them. H.R. 1 paves the way to restoring the Voting Rights Act and pushing back on the Supreme Court’s misguided Citizens United ruling. Renewing the public’s confidence in our democracy and accountability requires a comprehensive approach. I am proud to support this important step in reforming our electoral process to increase transparency and integrity in our democratic process.

For more information about H.R. 1, see the policy fact sheet here.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement after the House passed the American Rescue Plan Act, comprehensive legislation to address the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis.

“Last week, the United States reached the solemn milestone of 500,000 lives lost to COVID-19. The dire health impact of the pandemic has been followed by enormous ongoing economic consequences for individuals, families, and businesses. Amidst this suffering, I believe there is finally reason for optimism with vaccine distribution expanding and disease prevalence falling. The American Rescue Plan passed in the House is enormously important to continue this progress and is crucial to help combat the virus, get our children back in the classroom safely, ramp up equitable vaccine distribution, extend and expand unemployment insurance, and provide immediate economic relief for families.

“Combatting the pandemic must be the number one priority of relief efforts. Building on the work of the Biden Administration, the American Rescue Plan Act will bolster the national vaccination plan, scale up testing and contact tracing, address shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), and resolve inequities in our health care response. The bill makes critical investments to increase the capacity of local and tribal public health agencies who are on the frontlines of pandemic response. After repeated refusals from Republicans last year, Democrats are finally providing additional resources to state and local governments that will help protect the jobs of first responders, frontline public health workers, teachers, public transit workers, social service providers, and other essential workers that we all depend on.

“Students, educators, and parents have worked tirelessly to make virtual learning work during the pandemic. The $130 billion investment in K-12 schools included in the American Rescue Plan will help make safe re-opening possible by helping local school districts secure additional PPE, hire additional support staff, and repair ventilation systems. To help close the digital divide, the bill vastly increases support for expanding broadband services in underserved communities.

“The economic support in the bill provides an immediate lifeline for those in need and paves the way for long-term recovery. It expands and extends unemployment benefits, increases direct housing and nutrition assistance, and expands access to childcare. The American Rescue Plan will also make health insurance more affordable for millions of people by significantly expanding subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, incentivizing Medicaid expansion in states, and increasing the health insurance subsidies for individuals who lose their job. The bill includes a long-sought temporary expansion of Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, lifting millions of children and individuals out of poverty. While the question of inclusion of the minimum wage increase remains unclear in the Senate, the $15 minimum wage increase for 27 million workers—many of whom have worked through this pandemic as essential workers—is a necessary step to lift them out of poverty and strengthen our economy.

“The American Rescue Plan should not be a partisan bill; it does what is necessary to meet the scope of the crisis we face. I urge the Senate to act quickly so we can get relief to people as soon as possible.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement after the House voted to pass the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act which would provide permanent protections for millions of acres of public lands and waters to conserve these iconic landscapes, promote outdoor recreation, and protect communities from the impacts of the climate crisis.

“As communities across the country feel the consequences of climate change, this important legislation recognizes the need to make the expansion and protection of public lands a key component in our response to the climate crisis. This bill permanently protects public lands and waters by designating approximately 1.5 million acres of wilderness and incorporating more than 1,000 river miles into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. It also withdraws more than 1.2 million acres of public land from new oil and gas and mining claims.

“Under the leadership of Congressman Derek Kilmer, the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act included in the package would permanently protect the last remaining acres of ancient and mature forests on the Olympic Peninsula. With the support of tribes, local communities and businesses, conservationists, and the outdoor recreation industry, this legislation will help nature-deprived communities access parks and public lands, protect areas sacred to Indigenous peoples, ensure clean and safe drinking water, preserve wildlife habitats, and promote the outdoor recreation economy.

“President Biden has proposed necessary climate goals, including protecting 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030. These designations will get us closer to that goal and promote access to clean water, clean air, and healthy outdoor recreation opportunities while supporting local economies and historically underserved communities.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement after the House voted to pass the Equality Act which would explicitly prohibit discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community.

“The Equality Act guarantees that LGBTQ people can live their lives free from the fear of discrimination. LGBTQ people deserve to enjoy and exercise the same rights and responsibilities as all other Americans. As an original cosponsor, I’m proud to join my colleagues in passing this important bill in the House today.”

“President Biden pledged to make LGBTQ rights a priority of his first 100 days in office – signing the Equality Act into law would be a huge step in making good on that promise. Dozens of states already provide protections for LGBTQ people and it is time to end the patchwork set of laws that grant people constitutional rights based on their zip code. In more than half the country, a same-sex couple could be married one day and be fired from their jobs or evicted from their apartment the next day.

“No one should face discrimination for the way they look, who they are, or who they love. The Equality Act will amend existing federal civil rights laws to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, education, housing, credit, jury service, public accommodations, and federal funding. It is critical that we remedy these disparities at the federal level by signing the Equality Act into law.”

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