Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – This week, Congressman Adam Smith introduced the House Intern Pay Act, legislation to set aside funds so that interns in each congressional office can be paid.

“Paid internships help to provide equality of opportunity for all and ensure Congressional offices in Washington, D.C. and local district offices benefit from a strong diversity of ideas and backgrounds to best represent constituents,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “It is important to provide everyone in our community the opportunity to engage in our legislative process and civic service, regardless of their wealth.”

Every year, hundreds of students and recent graduates come to Capitol Hill seeking to learn about and serve in Congress. In the past, many young people have had to begin their careers in policy and public service in unpaid internship positions.  For many others, working and interning without pay is simply not possible.  Unpaid internships severely limit the opportunities available to those who cannot afford to work for free, but who want to learn and serve.     

The House Intern Pay Act would help alleviate this problem by allowing for the payment of a living wage to interns in each Members’, Delegates’, and Resident Commissioner’s congressional office in the House of Representatives.  Specifically, this bill authorizes amounts to fund a full-time, year-round internship position in each Member’s Capitol Hill or district congressional office at a rate of $15 per hour.

Congress must do its part to ensure that a person’s means is not a barrier to civic engagement and public service.

This legislation is cosponsored by the following Members of Congress: Don Beyer (VA-8), Nydia Velázquez (NY-7), Madeleine Bordallo (Guam), Mark Pocan (WI-2), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Suzanne Bonamci (OR-1), Judy Chu (CA-27), Ted W. Lieu (CA-33), Denny Heck (WA-10), Betty McCollum (MN-4), Pramila Jayapal (WA-7).

Washington D.C.Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in honor of Labor Day:

“On Labor Day, we honor the American worker and the labor movement that is an integral engine of our economy and our social fabric. As the son of a union baggage handler at SeaTac Airport, I know firsthand how labor unions have helped generations of America’s working families thrive. At a time when labor unions are under direct attack, we must show America’s workers the same devotion they have shown to our society. 

“The contributions of the labor movement have been fundamental in ensuring American workers receive their well-deserved rights. We must continue to fight for jobs that pay a living wage, provide fair workplace conditions, and build a healthcare system that covers those in need. It is vital that we resume investing in the American worker and ensure their success in an increasingly competitive marketplace.”

Washington, DC - House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following statement in response to the recently released study, commissioned by Governor Ricardo Rosselló of Puerto Rico, estimating the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico at 2,975:

“President Trump failed the American people in his response to Hurricane Maria, and it took Congressional pressure to force him to increase his commitment to military disaster relief for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. I cannot explain why he was so unwilling to do the right thing, and when he did, it turned out to be too little, too late. There are studies that show the death toll was in the thousands and not in the hundreds. This is not a situation where you can cover up the true impact on American citizens. The Trump Administration must be held accountable for their reckless mismanagement and failure to respond swiftly and robustly to Americans in need. It is unacceptable the way this tragedy took place.”

“President Trump continues to push an unrelenting assault on critical protections for our environment. From rolling back fuel mileage standards, undermining clean air and clean water protections, gutting the Endangered Species Act, and opening up our national monuments to development and mining, the President is actively working to endanger our environment.  Most troubling of all, he is pushing us towards being more reliant on fossil fuels. It is absolutely clear that carbon-based emissions are heating up earth and putting us on a path that will destroy our planet. We need to get off our dependency on carbon, not promote it.

“By gutting the Clean Power Plan, getting rid of federal regulations on carbon emissions, step by step the President is pushing us in the wrong direction. We are already at the point where we have waited way too long to address the impact of climate change and carbon-based fuels. For the President to roll back the progress we have made is disastrous and must be confronted.

“One area we continue to make progress is with the Department of Defense. As Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I have worked with my colleagues to declare that climate change is a national security threat. We have directed funding to pursue clean and alternative energy sources and end our reliance as a nation on fossil fuels. I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that the Department of Defense is planning for and mitigating against the impact of climate change and continues to invest in clean sources of energy to reduce our dependency on fossil fuel. 

“President Trump and Republicans in Congress have chosen to ignore climate change’s very real and negative impacts, and we must fight to stop them. We cannot let actions like today’s proposed rule reverse the critical progress that has been made.”

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.