Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement after the Department of Justice named Seattle, Portland, and New York City ‘anarchist jurisdictions’ as justification for attempting to withhold federal funding:

“Attorney General Bill Barr’s effort to cut off federal aid from Seattle, Portland, and New York City is another baseless, unlawful move by President Trump and his administration to use the federal government for political purposes and distract from his failed leadership. The law still applies to President Trump and Attorney General Barr and their attempts to withhold congressionally appropriated money blatantly violate the separation of powers.

“President Trump is distracting from real crises and his failed leadership by fearmongering. As the U.S. reaches 200,000 deaths from COVID-19, he continues to ignore science and fail to respond to the pandemic. The President has unsurprisingly only further divided us as protests around the country have demanded progress on racial justice and police reform. This latest campaign stunt attempting to hold taxpayer funds hostage from American cities will not distract us from the critical issues facing our country.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement after the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

“Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an exemplary beacon of justice. Her life-long work to expand the rights of all Americans has enshrined her mark on the history of our country and will serve as an inspiration for generations to come. Her leadership and honorable service have shaped countless lives for the better, and we are a stronger, more just nation due to her jurisprudence.

“No words can accurately portray the monumental impact she had on our justice system or describe her profound dedication to our nation even until her very last moments with us. We mourn the loss of her today, but we continue our fight for justice tomorrow. I extend my deepest condolences to her family and my sincerest gratitude to Justice Ginsberg – may she Rest in Peace.”

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Letter follows Governor Inslee’s request for federal emergency disaster declaration to address wildfire destruction in Whitman County that destroyed community of Malden, other areas in Eastern Washington

Members: “Washington state is experiencing an unprecedented wildfire season...these disasters have stretched our state’s wildfire-fighting resources thin and have further devastated communities impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the entire Washington state congressional delegation wrote to President Trump in support of Governor Jay Inslee’s request for a major disaster declaration for the state, as well as public assistance and individual assistance for Whitman County, following unprecedented recent wildfires in Eastern Washington and other areas. Additionally, with major fires continuing to burn across the Pacific Northwest, in the letter the lawmakers also offered support for emergency federal assistance in additional areas in the state impacted by wildfires that have cost lives, destroyed structures, forced thousands of families to evacuate their homes, and caused communities to lose power for extended periods. Led by U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA, 5th), the letter was joined by U.S. Representatives Adam Smith (D-WA, 9th), Rick Larsen (D-WA, 2nd), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA 3rd), Suzan DelBene (D-WA, 1st), Denny Heck (D-WA, 10th), Derek Kilmer (D-WA, 6th), Dan Newhouse (R-WA, 4th), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA, 7th), and Kim Schrier, M.D. (D-WA, 8th).

“As you know, Washington state is experiencing an unprecedented wildfire season,” the lawmakers wrote. “These disasters have stretched our state’s wildfire-fighting resources thin and have further devastated communities impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”

“These wildfires have forced the evacuations of thousands of people, threatened 3,000 homes and structures, and deteriorated air quality to hazardous levels. Even more concerning, these numbers are expected to grow as wildfires are still wreaking havoc on our state and acreage burned is approaching levels seen in 2015,” the lawmakers added.

According to the Governor’s office, beginning September 6, 2020, 39 new wildfire starts burned approximately 330,000 acres in the state. This total is more than double the amount of acreage burned in the state last year. In the five-day period between September 7 and 11, an estimated 626,982 acres burned in Washington, which is more acres burned than each of the fire seasons from 2002 to 2019, excluding the devastating 2015 wildfire season. In particular, the town of Malden, a small, rural community in Whitman County, has seen their community reduced to ashes. An estimated 80 percent of homes and other structures in the town—including the town’s only post office, town hall, fire station, food bank, and library—have been destroyed or seriously damaged. At the same time, many Washingtonians impacted by these wildfires are also navigating with the health and economic consequences of the pandemic. Individual and Public Assistance for this town, granted by a federal emergency federal disaster declaration, would provide critical and timely support, particularly for eligible individuals who have evacuated and are unable to return to their homes and community.  

Read the full letter below or HERE.

September 17, 2020

The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest
Washington, DC  20500 

Dear Mr. President:

We write in support Governor Jay Inslee’s September 16, 2020 request for a declaration of a Major Disaster for the State of Washington and authorization of the Individual Assistance Program and Public Assistance Program, Category B, emergency protective measures including congregate/non-congregate sheltering for Whitman County.

As you know, Washington state is experiencing an unprecedented wildfire season. These disasters have stretched our state’s wildfire-fighting resources thin and have further devastated communities impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Beginning September 6, 2020, 39 new wildfire starts burned approximately 330,000 acres in the state. This total is more than double the amount of acreage burned in the state last year. In the five-day period between September 7 and 11, an estimated 626,982 acres burned in Washington, which is more acres burned than each of the fire seasons from 2002 to 2019, excluding the devastating 2015 wildfire season. These wildfires have forced the evacuations of thousands of people, threatened 3,000 homes and structures, and deteriorated air quality to hazardous levels. Even more concerning, these numbers are expected to grow as wildfires are still wreaking havoc on our state and acreage burned is approaching levels seen in 2015.

In particular, the town of Malden, a small, rural community in Whitman County, has seen their community reduced to ashes. An estimated 80 percent of homes and other structures in the town including the town’s only post office, town hall, fire station, food bank, and library have been destroyed or seriously damaged. Individual and Public Assistance for this town would provide critical support, particularly for eligible individuals who have evacuated and are unable to return to their community.

Therefore, we fully support Governor Inslee’s request for a major disaster declaration statewide as well as Public Assistance and Individual Assistance for Whitman County. Further, with major fires continuing to burn across the state, we fully support any subsequent modifications made by Governor Inslee to extend federal assistance to areas not originally included in this request.

Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely, 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2694, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act:

“Over 40 years since the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, pregnant workers still face discrimination on the job. As women increasingly become the sole breadwinners in their households and work later into their pregnancies to maintain their family’s financial security, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act establishes a straightforward right to reasonable workplace accommodations for pregnant workers.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic putting women and pregnant people at an increased risk for severe illness, the need for these protections is more important today than ever. This bipartisan bill protects pregnant workers from being denied employment opportunities, retaliated against for requesting reasonable accommodations, or forced to take leave if another reasonable accommodation is available.

“No one should be forced to choose between financial security and a healthy, safe pregnancy. Without clear, strong federal protections, workers and employers are left with an incomplete patchwork of state and local laws that leave many pregnant workers without protections. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act finally secures clear basic fundamental rights for pregnant workers by establishing their right to reasonable accommodation.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.Res. 908, condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment related to COVID-19:

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a dramatic increase in reports of hate crimes and racist incidents against those of Asian descent. Recent reports show a total of over 2,500 incidents of discrimination against the Asian Americans and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community across the country, and many more incidents go unheard and unreported.

“Misinformation and racist characterizations about COVID-19 has led to the stigmatization of those of Asian descent based on fear and xenophobia. This puts the wellbeing of our communities and public health at risk. We must remain unified and vigilant to combat this epidemic and uphold our resilient and diverse communities. Across the country, we must stand up and take collective action to quell the widespread anti-Asian American racism amidst this pandemic and beyond.”

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