Press Releases

 

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus for Effective Foreign Assistance, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) and Congressman Ted Yoho (FL-03), joined with leaders in the international development community to applaud the House of Representatives passage of H.R. 5105, the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act, known as the BUILD Act of 2018:

“Passage of the BUILD Act is an important step to modernizing U.S. international development finance and showing that the United States is committed to leading the international community in supporting less developed countries. This new institution will focus on sustainable, broad-based development programs supporting critically needed projects in communities across the world. It strengthens our ability to support economic growth that ensures people have the opportunity to live healthy lives and achieve their fullest potential,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “Make no mistake, this reform is only part of our commitment to providing help to those most in need around the world. We must take an all-in approach to our foreign assistance that includes robust direct assistance from the United States. I will continue to fight for these essential programs promoting health, peace, and stability that are vital to our national security.”

“The BUILD Act is the most significant reform of America’s development finance system in decades. By streamlining our foreign assistance efforts, the United States will be more efficient and effective in how we target our foreign investments around the globe.  By creating a modern, 21st century, development finance system that better utilizes private sector-led development; we will help countries build their economies so that they can transition from needing our assistance – to opening up their markets for our goods,” said Congressman Ted Yoho. “Taking countries from aid to trade is the end goal. We want to assist countries in becoming robust trading partners with the United States. There is truth to the saying, 'a rising tide lifts all boats.’ By doing so, we will help create stable, self-sufficient societies around the world and open new markets for U.S. goods and services. I’d like to thank Congressman Smith for his support in moving this bill closer to becoming law.”

“The new International Development Finance Corporation, as outlined in the BUILD Act, would be an accountable, transparent, impact-focused leader in the development community,” said George Ingram, MFAN Co-Chair and Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution. “The legislation prioritizes cooperation with USAID, our lead development agency, and directs the IDFC to pursue highly developmental projects, particularly in countries that are subject to extreme poverty, fragility, and violence.”

“OPIC’s work with its private sector partners in the poorest countries, conflict-affected areas and other foreign policy hotspots is one of our nation’s most powerful and tangible tools of foreign policy. Development finance catalyzes the private sector investment that is the principal driver of sustainable economic development, job creation and resilient societies. Through its investments in critical power generation, affordable housing, and private schools and hospitals, OPIC and its partners’ investments project the very best of American values, innovation and goodwill. Leveraging the core of OPIC’s strong institutional foundation, the BUILD Act will propel U.S. leadership across the globe by modernizing U.S. development finance capabilities and boosting our impact in tackling poverty and creating more prosperous societies,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, former Chairman, President and CEO of OPIC under the Obama Administration.

“The BUILD Act embraces the mission of sustainable, broad-based economic growth, poverty reduction, and development. Provisions in the improved legislation prioritize less-developed countries and small business, and include environmental and social safeguards. It’s encouraging to see the House of Representatives vote in favor of modernizing our finance tools and enabling transparent growth and development,” said Tessie San Martin, MFAN Co-Chair and President and CEO of Plan International USA.

“This is not your grandparents’ developing world—it is richer, freer, and has far more agency than it did 40 years ago. If we do not meet the hopes and aspirations of our friends and allies, they will take their business to the Chinese. At the same time, a number of our national security challenges require private sector solutions as part of our response,” said Dan Runde, Senior Vice President of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Rather than look at many developing countries as simply recipients of aid, we must look at them as emerging or even emerged partners who desire a deeper relationship built around trade, investment, and economic growth. We should not let this moment pass. When passed, the BUILD Act will be the most important piece of international development legislation in more than a decade.”

“The BUILD Act is a positive step in modernizing the way the U.S. supports development around the world. Currently, private investment is being underutilized due to an outdated U.S. development finance infrastructure,” said Connie Veillette, MFAN Co-Chair and Senior Fellow at The Lugar Center. “It’s time for Congress to help unleash more innovative financing tools, while maintaining existing high standards for transparency, evaluation, and performance measurement stipulated in this bill and in the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act that was enacted into law in 2016.”

"Passage of the BUILD Act will dramatically strengthen the capacity of our government to fight poverty in the world through private capital investment and to collaborate with our allies to offer countries a path to prosperity by embracing entrepreneurship, innovation, and private enterprise.  In the global marketplace of today, economic influence is an extraordinarily important soft power tool and the United States must redouble its efforts to compete with the Chinese and offer a more compelling narrative for growth.  The BUILD Act will provide the tools necessary to compete more effectively and offer a more appealing alternative built around entrepreneurial capitalism,” said Robert Mosbacher, former President and Chief Executive Officer of OPIC.

“America has always been a leader in promoting market-based solutions to poverty. The BUILD Act will help the US update our tools to catalyze private investment in the toughest markets in support of development, economic, and security goals,” said Todd Moss, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development. “For our partners, the BUILD Act will help to accelerate capital inflows, job creation, and ultimately economic growth.”

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Armed Services Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement about President Trump’s meeting with President Vladimir Putin:

“We should all be gravely concerned about whatever discussions President Trump has had with President Putin behind closed doors. At every turn of his trip to Europe, President Trump has followed a script that parallels Moscow’s plan to weaken and divide America’s allies and partners and undermine democratic values. There is an extensive factual record suggesting that President Trump’s campaign and the Russians conspired to influence our election for President Trump. Now Trump is trying to cover it up. There is no sugar coating this. It is hard to see President Trump siding with Vladimir Putin over our own intelligence community and our criminal investigators as anything other than treason.”

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WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Adam Smith (WA-09) today joined U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (WI-02), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) in introducing the Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement System Act. The legislation would convene a commission of experts to provide a roadmap for Congress to implement a humane immigration enforcement system that upholds the dignity of all individuals, which includes terminating the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) within one year of enactment.

“We need to change the way we do immigration enforcement. Our current system is inhumane; it is separating children from their parents, deporting and detaining too many people, and ripping families apart. None of this is making us any safer. Unfortunately, Speaker Ryan is trying to demagogue the issue. This bill isn’t about stopping immigration enforcement or open borders. It is about shining a light on the injustices of our current system, and changing the way that we conduct immigration enforcement.”

“Across my district and throughout our country, ICE is ripping families apart. They are raiding workplaces, invading homes, showing up at courthouses, schools, and hospitals, detaining individuals indefinitely, and instilling fear throughout our communities. We must put a stop to this. President Trump has weaponized this agency to accomplish his racist and harmful agenda. To bring an end to these rampant human rights violations, we must terminate ICE and convene a commission of experts to make recommendations to Congress on the redistribution of ICE’s essential enforcement functions to other government agencies. ICE has strayed far from its original purpose and has failed to enforce immigration laws and protect national security in a humane and just way. I am proud to join several of my colleagues in cosponsoring this necessary legislation, and I will continue to fight to protect the dignity of all individuals.”  

Background:

Congress created ICE in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks with the primary mission of preventing “acts of terrorism by targeting the people, money, and materials that support terrorist and criminal activities.” However, since then, ICE has become synonymous with immigration raids, home invasions, family separation, abusive detention practices, and chronic noncompliance with the law.

Recently, ICE agents themselves recognized the irreparable damage being done by President Trump’s actions when nineteen ICE agents wrote to Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security, stating that investigations, “have been perceived as targeting undocumented aliens, instead of the transnational criminal organizations that facilitate cross border crimes impacting our communities and national security.” The authors of the letter agree that the agency is now failing to perform its core mission and that the best path forward would be to end it and start fresh.

Ending ICE and developing a more humane immigration system that complies with constitutional protections, domestic law, and binding international treaties, while treating every person with respect and dignity is a strong step forward.

The Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement System Act would:

  1. Convene a commission of experts to provide a roadmap for Congress to implement a humane immigration enforcement system that upholds the dignity of all individuals. This will include transferring issues like organized crime, drug smuggling, and human trafficking to other government agencies that are well-equipped to handle them and have proven track records of transparency, accountability and compliance with the law;
  2. Prior to the termination of the agency, direct Congress to act on the recommendations authored by the commission, including the transfer of necessary functions to relevant agencies and the implementation of the new immigration enforcement regime; and
  3. Terminate the agency within one year of enactment.

The legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (WI-02), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Jim McGovern (MA-02), José E. Serrano (NY-15), and Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07).

The bill text of the Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement System Act is available here.

A fact sheet on the Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement System Act is available here.

A section-by-section breakdown on the Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement System Act is available here.

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA), House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), and 42 other Democrats from the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees released the following statement on President Trump’s attendance at the NATO Summit and his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The members of the Armed Services Committee who released the statement are Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Rep. Robert A. Brady (D-PA), Rep. Susan A. Davis (D-CA), Rep. James R. Langevin (D-RI), Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA), Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU), Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX), Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Rep. Seth Moulton, (D-MA), Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-VA), Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD), Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Rep. Thomas R. Suozzi (D-NY), and Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA). The members of the Foreign Affairs Committee who released the statement are Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA), Rep. Theodore E. Deutch (D-FL), Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Rep. William R. Keating (D-MA), Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-RI), Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA), Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL), Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Rep. Robin L. Kelly (D-IL), Rep. Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA), Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), Rep. Norma J. Torres (D-CA), Rep. Bradley S. Schneider (D-IL), Rep. Thomas R. Suozzi (D-NY), Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), and Rep. Ted W. Lieu (D-CA):

“President Trump must not seek to undo the work that generations of American men and women have done to help defend and uphold democratic values throughout the transatlantic region. Europe returned from the devastation of the Second World War to prosperity largely due to the North Atlantic community’s commitments to its shared values and to collective defense. 

“The signals regarding potential outcomes that are coming from this administration in advance of the President’s upcoming trip to Europe are deeply concerning. Without question, in his upcoming meetings with NATO and President Putin, President Trump must continue to affirm America’s commitments to our allies, especially Article V of the Atlantic Treaty. He must not praise, condone, or abet any Russian efforts to undermine the sovereignty or democracy of any of our allies and partners. He must take a genuine stand against Russia’s cyber campaigns and its efforts to interfere in our elections.

“President Trump must recognize the importance that our forward military presence and joint exercises play in deterring Russia and ensuring military readiness. He must not weaken this posture or suspend or cancel these crucial activities, nor emulate Russian propaganda attempting to discredit them.

“He must stand up for Ukraine’s sovereignty over Crimea and against the illegal occupation of Ukrainian territory and maintain sanctions until the conditions in the law are met. He must follow the law passed every year through the National Defense Authorization Act prohibiting military-to-military cooperation with President Putin. And he must continue to stand by NATO’s open door policy on the admittance of new members. The substance and symbolism of these upcoming meetings will matter. The future of the Atlantic alliance and the international order, which has helped make the world safer and more prosperous is at stake.”

“The so-called ‘compromise’ immigration bill that failed to pass the House of Representatives this week was not a compromise at all – not a single Democrat was consulted in the drafting of the bill. This bill had no significant differences from the Goodlatte bill, which also failed to pass last week. Neither piece of legislation presented any real solutions to fixing our broken immigration system, providing a path to citizenship for Dreamers, or reuniting children with their parents after being unjustly separated at the border. 

“This administration and Republicans in Congress want you to believe that we only have two choices when it comes to immigration enforcement: we either must separate families and incarcerate immigrants, much like we did to Japanese Americans during World War II, or else we will have ‘open borders’ and rampant crime.

“To say that we are limited to only those options, and to refuse to bring up the multitude of legislative proposals that have bipartisan support, is deeply disingenuous. We have clear alternatives. We can process the asylum requests and use alternatives to detention for individuals and families awaiting their immigration proceedings, like the successful Family Case Management Program the President chose to abruptly end, despite its proven success. We can reunite families, give Dreamers a path to citizenship, and work together toward comprehensive immigration reform.

“The President has decided that we must be hostile to immigrants and Congressional Republicans have chosen to align themselves with his fear-mongering, xenophobic agenda. He is trying to use this as a wedge issue to misinform and terrify people, and we cannot allow him to do so.”