Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, and H.R. 1446, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, gun violence has only grown worse, ending an average of 100 American lives each day. Even with many Americans staying home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, gun purchases spiked in March 2020 and firearm fatalities rose in the following months. Today, Congress has begun to address the epidemic of gun violence with two pieces of strong, bipartisan legislation.

"It’s is overwhelmingly clear that background checks work. Every day, background checks stop approximately 170 felons, 50 domestic abusers, and 20 fugitives from obtaining a gun. However, major loopholes exist in the system that allow unlicensed dealers and vendors at gun shows to sell guns without running any background check at all. Ninety percent of Americans, including responsible gun owners, recognize the value in keeping firearms away from people who can’t pass a background check. H.R. 8 closes the background check loophole to bring all states forward in requiring background checks on every gun purchase.

“I’m also proud to have finally closed a major loophole in gun laws that armed the shooter in the tragic massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, that killed nine innocent people. Commonly referred to as the ‘Charleston Loophole,’ federal law allows licensed gun dealers to hand over guns to individuals who may not qualify if their background check has not been completed by the FBI within three days. Despite being prohibited by law from possessing a firearm due to his history of unlawful controlled substance abuse, the shooter obtained a gun due to this technicality. H.R. 1446 provides the FBI with the crucial time needed to complete a background check on a potential firearms purchaser before a licensed dealer can transfer a gun.

“With the passage of the Bipartisan Background Checks Act and the Enhanced Background Checks Act in the House, Congress has taken a foundational step toward saving lives from gun violence and keeping our communities safe.”

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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, sending it to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

“The American Rescue Plan Act will provide the tools needed to beat COVID-19 and support individuals, families, and small businesses struggling from the economic crisis. This package provides direct cash assistance to families, ramps up vaccine distribution, gives schools resources for COVID-19 prevention and mitigation, and supports small businesses.

“The American Rescue Plan delivers immediate relief to the workers and families bearing the brunt of this pandemic. The bill will provide direct housing assistance, nutrition assistance for 40 million Americans, and expand access to safe and reliable child care. It includes the most significant expansion of affordable health insurance in a decade to keep affordable health care within reach for millions of people. Unemployment insurance is extended so that 18 million American workers can afford to pay their bills and put food on the table. The bill also strengthens economic recovery by expanding the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit to cut child poverty in half and support more than 17 million low-wage workers.

“While we still have much work to do, this package lays the foundation needed to help bring an end to the pandemic, support students and schools, get shots in arms, put dollars into families’ pockets, and help people get back to work.”

For more details, please see the H.R. 1319, American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 One-Pager here and full Fact Sheet here.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement following House passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which would protect workers’ basic rights to join a union by empowering workers to collectively bargain, hold employers accountable for violating workers’ rights, and secure free, fair, and safe union elections.

“Over the last several decades, wages have not kept pace with the rising costs of education, child care, housing, and other basic necessities—a situation exacerbated by the pandemic and current recession. This is a direct result of state and local policies, and a lack of strong federal protections, that have enabled the assault on workers’ rights.

“Strong unions are one of the biggest and time-tested tools to combat economic inequality. I am proud to support the PRO Act, which will streamline the process for workers seeking to organize a union, protect employees from retaliation for collective bargaining, crack down on worker misclassification, and authorize meaningful penalties for companies and executives that violate workers’ rights.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown just how vulnerable workers are without the ability to collectively bargain for safe working conditions and fair wages and benefits. The PRO Act is the most significant upgrade to US labor law in 80 years. It is a giant step towards restoring a fair and equitable economy that protects workers’ rights to collectively bargain for better pay, benefits, and on-the-job safety.”

To learn more, you can view the PRO Act Fact Sheet here.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after the Biden administration explicitly supported efforts to replace the existing Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF).

“Much has changed since the initial passage of the 2002 AUMF, namely the democratic Iraqi government is now our partner in our counterterrorism mission. Given that the 2002 AUMF was passed to authorize the Iraq war, and because circumstances in the region have changed so significantly over the past 19 years, this authorization should be repealed.

“As a legislator and policy maker, I am glad that the Biden administration is willing to work with Congress to review the existing authorities. It’s not enough to just repeal the 2002 AUMF – serious reforms to the 2001 AUMF are also required, and I look forward to working on substantive changes with my colleagues in Congress.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Congressman John Curtis (R-UT), introduced the bipartisan Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2021 to provide U.S. citizenship to international adoptees brought to the U.S. as children but were never granted citizenship. The legislation would close a loophole in the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA), which has prevented internationally-adopted children, who are now adults, from receiving U.S. citizenship despite being raised by American parents.

“I am proud to introduce the bipartisan Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2021 with Congressman John Curtis to finally give U.S. citizenship to these international adoptees,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “Through no fault of their own, there are thousands of adoptees who were brought to the U.S. for adoption as children but never gained citizenship. These individuals grew up in the U.S., started careers and families here, yet they do not live with the privileges of being citizens. Our legislation will end this injustice and bring much needed certainty for impacted adoptees, granting them U.S. citizenship.”

“The importance of the family is something that Utahns treasure and a value that I have worked to protect while in Congress,” said Congressman John Curtis. “I am proud to introduce the Adoptee Citizenship Act which will give peace of mind to international adoptees and parents and reunify many Utah families. Specifically, this bill will ensure automatic citizenship for all international adoptees and close a loophole that barred thousands from U.S. citizenship. I look forward to working with my colleagues, such as Representative Smith, to advance legislation like the Adoptee Citizenship Act that strengthens and supports families.”

The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA) eliminated the need for many adoptive families to apply to naturalize and gain citizenship for their newly-adopted children, but the law only applied to adoptees who were under the age of 18 when the law took effect on February 27, 2001. The loophole denies citizenship to adoptees who were age 18 or over in February 2001, even though they were legally adopted as children by U.S. citizens and raised in the United States; it did not apply retroactively to those adoptees who faced the same dilemma but aged into adulthood before the CCA took effect.

For these international adoptees, the U.S. is the place they grew up and the place they call home. Yet, through no fault of their own, they never received their citizenship and are living in uncertainty about their future. Without citizenship, these international adoptees face many barriers, such as having trouble applying for a passport, license, or student financial aid. In some cases, they have been deported to the country in which they were born, where they may have never lived and have no known family or friends.

The Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2021 introduced today corrects this gap in the law by confirming international adoptees’ U.S. citizenship status, regardless of when they were adopted or their age at the time the CCA was passed. This important bill provides much needed certainty to adopted Americans who have had difficulties attending college, accessing banking services, and starting their careers simply because of paperwork and process oversights during their childhood.

In addition to the broad, bipartisan congressional support for the Adoptee Citizenship Act, the bill has garnered widespread praise among the leading adoption advocacy organizations, immigration groups, faith-based organizations, and Korean American civic and community organizations. 

Endorsing Organizations: Adoptee Rights Campaign, Korean American Grassroots Conference, National Council For Adoption (NCFA), National Immigration Forum, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, NAKASEC, The Niskanen Center, Adoptees for Justice, Adoptee Advocates, Family Coalition for Adoptee Citizenship, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Center for Adoption Policy, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

Statements of Support:

Adoptee Rights Campaign:

“Children adopted into American families grow up on the principles of productive work and independence. However, without citizenship, adoptees are economically and politically disenfranchised and lack a sustainable way forward. The Adoptee Citizenship Act is the only remedy for ensuring all intercounty adoptees can fully access their rights as Americans. We are encouraged by Representatives Smith and Curtis's bipartisan sponsorship and we look forward to advancing this critical legislation.”

Korean American Grassroots Conference:

“We appreciate Rep. Smith and Rep. Curtis for their bipartisan leadership on providing a sensible solution to the crisis tens of thousands of adoptees face,” said Wonseok Song, executive director of the Korean American Grassroots Conference, the largest nationwide network of Korean American voters. “Based on family values and compassion, the Adoptee Citizenship Act is a major step in fulfilling the promise of providing a home to the intercountry adoptees who are part of American families in all aspects but paper. The Korean American community is home to the greatest number of impacted adoptees, and KAGC along with its partner organizations is committed to supporting all those affected.”

Chuck Johnson, President & CEO, National Council For Adoption:

“NCFA supports the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2021. Congress intended citizenship for children being internationally adopted by American citizens, but a complicated and confusing immigration and visa system confused many adoptive families and many parents failed to complete the citizenship process on behalf of their minor children.  The Adoptee Citizenship Act provides the citizenship that was originally promised to these children through their adoption and coming to America.” – Chuck Johnson, National Council For Adoption.

National Immigration Forum:

“The Adoptee Citizenship Act is an example of the kind of bipartisan, proactive cooperation on immigration that Congress needs more of,” said Jacinta Ma, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the National Immigration Forum. “Immigration legislation that recognizes and protects families with just, compassionate solutions is a step in the right direction for all Americans. Congress should move forward with this legislation and uphold the values that define our nation.”

Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute:

“The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) is so grateful to Representatives Smith and Curtis for introducing this long awaited legislative fix, to fully enshrine in U.S. law the legal precedent of treating children who are adopted as equal to biological children. This bill will help remove an impossible barrier for adoptees whose adoptive parents did not know they needed to take additional steps to seek U.S. citizenship for their children after their adoption finalizations. The adoption community is grateful for congressional champions whose initiative and leadership will solve this problem once and for all for adopted children of U.S. citizens."

NAKASEC:

“As an Asian American network that has always had intercountry adoptees within our leadership, the NAKASEC network applauds the re-introduction of the Adoptee Citizenship Act. We are excited to work with our co-sponsors to ensure citizenship for all intercountry adoptees during this legislative cycle.” – Becky Belcore, Executive Director & intercountry adoptee/NAKASEC

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association:

“The Adoptee Citizenship Act represents an opportunity for Congress to positively change lives in a deserved and meaningful way,” said A.B. Cruz III, President of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. “Through this bipartisan legislation, tens of thousands of international adoptees will be granted the citizenship they deserve. We thank Congressmen Adam Smith and John Curtis for their leadership. We urge all Members of Congress to support the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2020.”

Family Coalition for Adoptee Citizenship:

"The family is the fundamental unit of society and it must be safeguarded. Adoption creates a family and providing citizenship to all intercountry adoptees helps preserve the family." – Kurt Cappelli, Founding Partner, Family Coalition for Adoptee Citizenship 

Kristopher Larsen, Adoptees for Justice:

"Intercountry Adoptees have been left out far too long, this bill would bring a relief to so many impacted adoptees in the US and provide them with the securities of US Citizenship."

Anissa Druesedow, Adoptee Advocates:

"This bill will help reunite many impacted adoptees with their families and lead to citizenship. It will finally bring the rights that should have been granted at the time of adoption so many years ago.”

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