Press Releases

 

Congressman Adam Smith Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith of Washington, Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, delivered the Weekly Democratic Address.  In this week’s address, Smith condemns the Republican Congress’ refusal to govern and inability to pass a budget that meets the needs and values of our country.  Video and audio of the Weekly Democratic Address can be downloaded here.

Below is a full transcript of the address:

“Hello, I’m Adam Smith.  I’m the Congressman who represents the 9th District of the state of Washington, and I’m pleased to have the opportunity to give the Democratic message for this week. 

“I know a lot of people paid close attention to the government shutdown that happened last week and are wondering what it was all about.  Why did it happen?  And there’s really a very simple explanation.  The Republicans who control the House, the Senate and the White House are refusing to govern on the critical issues that face our country.  And what they were trying to do last week – and ultimately did do – was pass yet another short-term, stop-gap spending bill.  That is not funding the government. 

“There are so many issues that are not being addressed by this Congress, and what Democrats were trying to do was basically to force the Republicans to do their job.  They won the election.  They control the House, they control the Senate, they control the White House.  It’s time to govern, but they’re not doing it.  They’re not passing a budget to begin with. 

“I’m the Ranking Member in the House Armed Services Committee, and I’ve been privileged to work with the men and women who serve in our military.  And we could not be better served, they make us proud every day.  But the Congress right now, the Republican-controlled Congress is not serving our military, because it’s not passing a defense budget.  A short-term spending bill is not a budget.  The leaders of the Pentagon do not know from one week to the next how much money they’re going to have to spend.  That makes it impossible to plan and impossible to put us in a position to adequately meet the national security needs of this country.

“And it’s not just the Defense Department, it’s the entire budget.  Our infrastructure.  We have a crumbling infrastructure in this country estimated to have a $600 billion backfill.  But again, the Republicans will not pass a transportation budget. 

“In a short-term spending bill, what they’ve passed now four times since the end of the fiscal year in September, is not a budget.  They’re not funding infrastructure, they’re not funding research, they’re not funding education.  We are stumbling forward one month at a time, and it goes beyond the budget. 

“We have had horrible hurricanes last year hit Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  They have not passed the disaster relief that these areas desperately need.  Again, simply kicking the can down the road. 

“And of course, DACA.  And we’ve heard a lot about it.  The young people who came into this country didn’t make the choice to come into this country.  The only country they’ve ever really known is the United States of America.  And our government, a couple years ago, gave them legal status in this country – about 800,000 young people.

“And then six months ago, President Trump simply took it away.  Now at the time, he said he hoped Congress would pass legislation to deal with this, but the Republican Congress again has refused to do it.  And again, that’s part of what was trying to be forced last week – to force them to give us a vote.  If a vote came up on DACA, on protection for these DREAMers – for these young people – it would pass overwhelmingly in the House and the Senate.  But the Republicans refuse to even give us a vote. 

“The only thing that the Republicans have done since they took over Congress and the White House last year, is pass a massive tax cut for the wealthiest among us and for corporations.  Two groups of people that have had more than enough benefits in the last couple of decades.  That tax cut even comes at the expense, in some cases, of middle class people. 

“What Democrats want is – we want an economy that builds from the middle out.  That working people in the middle class can benefit from.

“Now, you’ve seen all the signs that our economy is booming.  Unfortunately, about 90 to 95 percent of that benefit is going to about 5 or 10 percent of the country.

“We need to pass a budget to fix health care, to deal with disaster relief to deal with all of these issues if we’re going to actually take care of the middle class and the working people of this country – and that is what the Republicans have refused to do.

“Now regrettably we found out last week that even when Democrats said, ‘Look, we’re not going to vote for another short-term spending bill that continues to put us down this path of uncertainty, that doesn’t fund our priorities, that doesn’t pass the bills that we need to pass, that doesn’t govern our country the way it’s supposed to.’ 

“Even when faced with that, the Republicans said, ‘We don’t care.  We’re still not going to do it.  We’re not going to pass a budget, we’re not going to pass disaster relief, we’re not going to fix DACA, we’re not going to fix infrastructure, we’re not going to fix our health care plan.’ 

“So we hope that that will change.  This latest stop-gap goes to February 8th, we’ll see what happens then.

“But the problem we have in this country right now is the Republicans who control the House, the Senate and the White House, flat out refuse to govern.  They refuse to fix our health care system, they refuse to pass a budget, they refuse to take care of disaster relief.  It is time we hold them accountable.

“And we can’t do it alone in Congress.  So, I ask you, the American people to stand up and tell the Republicans to govern. 

“We don’t need more short-term spending bills, we need a budget and we need a Congress and a White House that actually governs and leads this country.”

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Congressman Smith Joins Congressman Doyle and Colleagues in Announcing Legislation to Save Net Neutrality

Washington, DC – January 16, 2018 – U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-14) announced today the names of the Members of Congress who have asked to cosponsor his legislation to reject the FCC’s order to end the Open Internet and eliminate Net Neutrality.

“We’ve made good progress so far in getting Members to sign on as original cosponsors of our bill to restore Net Neutrality, and I will continue to seek additional cosponsors in the weeks ahead,” Congressman Doyle said today in releasing the list of names. “There’s overwhelming public support for preserving Net Neutrality, so it’s no surprise that there’s strong support in Congress as well. I’m confident that if there’s enough public pressure, Congress will overturn the FCC’s order killing net neutrality.”

On December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines to reverse the Open Internet Order, which regulated Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in order to ensure net neutrality. Later that day, Congressman Doyle announced that he would introduce legislation in the House to overrule the FCC’s action, and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) announced that he would do the same in the Senate.

Under the Congressional Review Act, members of the House and Senate can offer a joint resolution of disapproval on any regulation recently issued by a federal agency. Such legislation can’t be introduced, however, before the regulation is “received by Congress.”

“Senator Markey announced today that they have 50 cosponsors in the Senate, and we hope to mirror their efforts in the House,” Congressman Doyle added.

“The threat posed by the FCC’s actions to overturn Net Neutrality endangers free speech, democracy and a growing internet economy,” said Representative Adam Smith (WA-09). “I am proud to support a legislative fix to the FCC’s unjust ruling.”

As of today, the following Members of the US House of Representatives have agreed to cosponsor Congressman Doyle’s legislation to save Net Neutrality:

Don S. Beyer, Jr. (VA-08)

Sanford Bishop (GA-02)

Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)

Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01)

Madeleine Bordallo (GU-Del)

Mike Capuano (MA-07)

Andre Carson (IN-07)

Kathy Castor (FL-14)

David Cicilline (RI-01)

Joe Courtney (CT-02)

Joe Crowley (NY-14)

Danny Davis (IL-07)

Susan Davis (CA-53)

Peter DeFazio (OR-04)

Diana DeGette (CO-01)

John Delaney (MD-06)

Rosa DeLauro (CT-03)

Suzan DelBene (WA-01)

Lloyd Doggett (TX-35)

Keith Ellison (MN-05)

Anna Eshoo (CA-18)

Adriano Espaillat (NY-13)

Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02)

Jimmy Gomez (CA-34)

Raul Grijalva (AZ-03)

Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01)

Denny Heck (WA-10)

Jared Huffman (CA-02)

Pramila Jayapal (WA-07)

Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)

Marcy Kaptur (OH-09)

Joe Kennedy (MA-04)

Ro Khanna (CA-17)

Ann Kuster (NH-02)

James R. Langevin (RI-02)

Brenda Lawrence (MI-14)

Barbara Lee (CA-13)

Sander Levin (MI-09)

Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)

Stephen Lynch (MA-08)

Carolyn Maloney (NY-12)

Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18)

Betty McCollum (MN-04)

Donald McEachin (VA-04)

James P. McGovern (MA-02)

Jerry McNerney (CA-09)

Doris Matsui (CA-06)

Jerrold Nadler (NY-10)

Richard E. Neal (MA-01)

Richard Nolan (MN-08)

Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-Del)

Beto O’Rourke (TX-16)

Frank Pallone (NJ-06)

Nancy Pelosi (CA-12)

Collin Peterson (MN-07)

Chellee Pingrey (ME-01)

Mark Pocan (WI-02)

Jared Polis (CO-02)

David Price (NC-04)

Jamie Raskin (MD-08)

Jacky Rosen (NV-03)

Tim Ryan (OH-13)

John Sarbanes (MD-03)

Jan Schakowsky (IL-09)

José E. Serrano (NY-15)

Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01)

Brad Sherman (CA-30)

Louise Slaugher (NY-25)

Adam Smith (WA-09)

Jackie Speier (CA-14)

Tom Suozzi (NY-03)

Mark Takano (CA-41)

Mike Thompson (CA-05)

Paul Tonko (NY-20)

Niki Tsongas (MA-03)

Pete Visclosky (IN-01)

Tim Walz (MN-01)

Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23)

Maxine Waters (CA-43)

Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)

Peter Welch (VT-AL)

John Yarmuth (KY-03)

Smith Statement in Observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day:

January 15, 2018

As a civil rights icon, Martin Luther King Jr. has inspired millions of people throughout the country. On this day, we honor and celebrate the tireless efforts of Dr. King to pursue a better future for all Americans. Dr. King worked to provide a larger voice for marginalized voices. His work sparked change in the hearts and minds of Americans and sought to achieve economic, racial and social equality for everyone. While we are working towards an equal America, we have not achieved Dr. King's complete dream. For all the progress we have made, we risk falling back if we do not stand up to the new rise in white supremacist bigotry on display most notably in Charlottesville last year, and in far too many other places. We must unequivocally say that a diverse America is a stronger America.

We still must undertake fundamental endeavors that will improve the quality of life for Americans. Through community and civic engagement, we can pursue action that will bring forth transformative change. Throughout the year, we should reflect on his work to attain social justice. By the pursuit of change we can make the tenets of Dr. King’s dream a reality for all.

Top Democrats Introduce Legislation to Speed Up PTC Implementation, Prevent Further PTC Extensions

Legislation would provide funding for PTC implementation and prevent new passenger rail service on routes without PTC

January 11, 2018

Washington, D.C. -- Today, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Michael Capuano (D-MA) introduced legislation that would speed up the implementation of life-saving positive train control (PTC) technology that could prevent catastrophic human-caused rail accidents. The legislation, the Positive Train Control Implementation and Financing Act (H.R. 4766), comes in response to the December 18, 2017 crash of Amtrak Train 501 in Washington, which killed three passengers. Last week, the National Transportation Safety Board reported that the accident was PTC preventable.

“Since Congress first passed legislation to mandate PTC implementation in 2008, some railroads have been diligent in implementing PTC while others have clearly been dragging their feet. Two years ago, Congress granted them more time, pushing the PTC implementation deadline to December 31, 2018. As we approach that deadline, many of the railroads do not appear to be on track to meet the PTC mandate. Enough. No more delays, no more extensions, no more excuses from railroads who have had ten years to implement PTC technology. This legislation requires that PTC be installed by the end of the year, prevents future extensions of this life-saving technology, and provides critical grants for cash-strapped commuter and intercity passenger railroads to implement PTC,” said DeFazio.

“Positive Train Control will significantly improve passenger safety and full implementation must be made a priority. This legislation will ensure that PTC is done as quickly as possible and makes resources available to help certain railroads meet this obligation,” said Capuano.

Members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Representatives Rick Larsen (D-WA) and Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), and the entire Washington State Democratic delegation including Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Denny Heck (D-WA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), and Adam Smith (D-WA), have cosponsored the legislation.

The legislation would mandate that December 31, 2018, is the final deadline for implementing PTC and prohibit the U.S. Department of Transportation from granting railroads further extensions of the PTC deadline. To help passenger railroads meet the deadline, the bill includes just over $2.5 billion in grants for intercity and commuter passenger railroads to implement PTC.  In response to the recent Amtrak crash in Washington, the legislation would prohibit commuter and intercity passenger railroads from beginning new service on a route unless PTC is fully implemented and operational. It also requires that Amtrak report its progress toward installing PTC on routes that are not owned by Amtrak, but are operated by the railroad, such as the Amtrak Cascades line

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Smith released the following statement in response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s decision to rescind Obama Administration memos, establishing that as long as strict enforcement and regulatory systems and policies remained in place, it would defer action in states like Washington which have legalized adult recreational marijuana use.

“The actions taken by Attorney General Sessions to rescind existing protections for citizens complying with lawfully enacted state laws regarding marijuana use across the country represents a flagrant disregard for the will of the majority of Americans. This about-face leaves a vacuum of any substantive federal marijuana policy, and threatens to create a ‘wild west’ of haphazard prosecutions. This shift in policy is completely unacceptable, and is an affront to the 10th Amendment.

“We must demand that Washington state residents who abide by state laws are protected from blanket federal enforcement. It is essential that Congress now provide certainty on this issue. We must move swiftly to codify the ban on dollars being spent by federal law enforcement to prosecute individuals legally participating in marijuana use or business in accordance with respective state laws. We have a responsibility to strengthen guidance to U.S. Attorneys on prosecution of marijuana cases and enact clear guidelines to financial institutions on providing banking services to legal marijuana businesses.”