Press Releases

Washington D.C.Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement today in opposition to the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, known as the Farm Bill. 

 

“This week, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, known as the Farm Bill.  This Farm Bill is a missed opportunity to put forward a bipartisan bill that addresses our food insecurity challenges and supports conservation, agriculture, and related programs that are vital to preserving the environment and strengthening our economy.

 

“The cuts and changes this Farm Bill makes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are drastic and harmful. People from every walk of life – children, veterans, seniors disabled, and hard-working families – rely on SNAP every day, including 930,000 people from across Washington state. The changes made to SNAP, such as implementing stricter work requirements and restricting the ability for states to extend SNAP benefits to low-income working families based on the high cost of utilities, housing, childcare, or medical care, will result in an estimated $23 billion cut to SNAP benefits, taking essential support away from 2 million Americans.

 

“Claims that this Farm Bill will get SNAP recipients back to work are misguided and fail to recognize the realities facing working families. SNAP already has strict work requirements, and roughly 80 percent of those benefiting from SNAP who are already required to work, do so in the year before or the year after being on SNAP. Furthermore, many individuals who rely on SNAP don’t have full-time or year-round work, especially in a diverse economy like Washington. The work requirements in this bill would place an immense burden on states, as the bill fails to provide adequate resources or time for states to comply with the bill’s timeline to institute the new work programs.  

 

“This untested and unfunded expansion of employment and training (E&T) programs would put successful E&T programs at risk, such as Washington’s Basic Food Education and Benefit (BFET). BFET has been remarkably effective in providing education and training to help individuals obtain employment. Washington is one of ten states currently participating in an expanded E&T pilot program. If Congress is serious about improving workforce training and getting more Americans back to work, we should continue to invest in these pilot programs to determine what works instead of creating a new massive bureaucracy to manage untested mandatory programs.  

“Republicans have also used this Farm Bill as an opportunity to once again undermine our environmental laws and diminish conservation programs. The bill would threaten our clean water by eliminating the Clean Water Act General Pesticide Permit Program, which provides much needed oversight of pesticides sprayed into our waterways. Instead of strengthening conservation programs, it makes an overall cut of $800 million to the Conservation Title. Lastly, this Farm Bill would attack environmental protections for public lands and forests vital to Washington, such as the inclusion of provisions exempting environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for over 45 activities on public lands nationwide.

 

“The bottom line is that if this bill were enacted, an estimated 25,000 households or 60,000 people in Washington state would lose their SNAP benefits. It’s appalling that just a few months after passing a corporate tax cut bill that costs Americans 1.5 trillion dollars, Republicans can justify taking essential nutrition support away from individuals and families that desperately need it.”

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Ted. S. Yoho (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, and Congressman  Adam Smith (D-WA)  released the following statements after a full committee mark up of their Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act (BUILD) - H.R. 5105.

“Passage of the BUILD Act out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee is a significant milestone towards helping to bring U.S. international development financing into the 21st century,” said Rep Adam Smith. “I worked closely with Chairman Royce and Subcommittee Chairman Yoho on an amendment to help focus the new institution on sustainable, broad-based development programs that support social and economic outcomes. I was very pleased to see several additional amendments pass which strengthened labor and environmental standards, as well as oversight and transparency in the new institution. This bill is an example of what bipartisan cooperation can accomplish, and I look forward to the next steps.”


“Today we have taken another important step forward in modernizing America’s development finance system,” said Rep. Ted Yoho. “The BUILD Act will make our nation more competitive on the global stage and the distribution of our foreign aid dollars more efficient. Thank you to Chairman Ed Royce, Ranking Member Eliot Engle, Congressman Adam Smith, and all my colleagues for their continued support of this bipartisan, bicameral bill. I look forward to having President Trump sign the BUILD Act into law eventually.”

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Washington, DC – Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed unanimously the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area Act (H.R. 1791). Bill authors, Representatives Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Adam Smith (D-WA) applauded this action.

“In Washington State, we know full well that the spectacular landscape of the Mountains to Sound Greenway is worthy of national recognition,” said Rep. Reichert. “This morning’s vote shows that my colleagues here in Congress understand that as well. I am proud to see this bill move forward, so the Greenway receives the official recognition it deserves. The Greenway benefits Washingtonians and visitors from around the world, which is why it is important to honor this beautiful land. I thank Chairman Bishop for his work on this bill, and look forward to its consideration by the full House.”

“I am pleased to see the House Natural Resources Committee voted unanimously to pass H.R. 1791, legislation I have co-sponsored with Congressman Reichert,” said Rep. Adam Smith. “The designation of Washington’s Mountains to Sound Greenway – over 1.5 million acres of land stretching from Seattle to Ellensburg – as a National Heritage Area will help preserve and promote the area’s scenery, resources and history for future generations.  I thank Congressman Reichert for his leadership and the passionate community members with the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust for their support of this important piece of legislation. I hope to see this legislation brought to the House floor for a vote in the near future.”

This legislation was first introduced by Representatives Reichert and Smith in the 113th Congress as H.R. 1785, the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area Act. In November of 2014, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed the bill, but the full House never considered it. In the same Congress, the Senate companion legislation passed out of Committee, but it did not receive consideration on the Senate floor.

After receiving feedback over the past four years, Reps. Reichert and Smith reintroduced an improved and strengthened bill in March of 2017. This new bill (H.R. 1791) includes important protections for individual rights, private property owners, and tribal communities. It has the support of over 6,000 individuals and groups from government agencies and officials, businesses, outdoor recreation groups, and conservation and heritage organizations, including the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and Outdoor Alliance.

“Our region is a model for the nation. We’ve built a booming economy, while simultaneously conserving the Pacific Northwest's iconic mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes. Designating the Mountains to Sound Greenway as a National Heritage Area celebrates this unique approach of economy and environment working in concert, not in conflict." said Jon Hoekstra, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust Executive Director. "We applaud Congressmen Reichert and Smith for their dedication to and leadership on this effort over the years and look forward to helping achieve this legacy accomplishment.”

Rep. Reichert and former Washington Senator Slade Gorton testified before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands last month on H.R. 1791. A bipartisan group of members from the King County Council attended the hearing in support of the legislation, including King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn, who also submitted a letter of support for the bill.

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Washington, D.C. – Today, House Armed Services Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following statement about President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran:
 
“This decision will make us less safe by allowing Iran to quickly acquire a nuclear weapon, separating us from our allies, and fueling instability in the region. The JCPOA has so far been successful in preventing Iran from advancing toward the acquisition of nuclear weapons. It did not cover issues such as ballistic missiles or Iranian support for terrorism, but President Trump has offered no alternative that would do a better job at securing America’s vital security interest in preventing a nuclear-armed Iran while avoiding the possibility of an unnecessary and potentially catastrophic clash. Without question, this decision runs the risk of far greater conflict and in the short term, at a minimum, far greater destabilization of the Middle East.”

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, seven House Democratic national security leaders sent a letter to Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Defense Secretary James Mattis to oppose President Trump’s recent decision to deploy National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. Given the potential cost and with border crossings at a 40-year low, the Administration must provide a thorough justification and plan for any deployment of troops and use of taxpayer funds. News reports indicate the Administration is only now drafting a deployment plan, indicating how rushed this decision was, while some governors have now begun committing troops for this operation.

The letter was signed by House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith, Committee on Homeland Security Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson, Judiciary Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler, Oversight & Government Reform Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings, Homeland Security Border & Maritime Security Ranking Member Filemon Vela, Judiciary Immigration & Border Security Subcommittee Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren, and Oversight & Government Reform National Security Subcommittee Ranking Member Stephen F. Lynch.

In the letter, the Members write:

“A deployment of this kind is not to be made lightly. Thorough consideration of the justification for such a deployment, along with the implications and costs for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Defense (DOD), and affected stakeholders well in advance of such a deployment are both required and essential.”

“As you are undoubtedly aware, border security has been a rigorously discussed topic over the past year. We are surprised and puzzled as to why neither of you nor other members of the Administration mentioned a possible deployment of the National Guard to the southern border before. For example, Secretary Nielsen never once mentioned the potential need to use the National Guard for border security purposes when testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 16, 2018. In subsequent press briefings and televised Cabinet meetings, this approach was not discussed either.”

“A hastily and poorly designed deployment could have significant negative impacts on our national security, border security, and on the communities located along the U.S.-Mexico border.”

Link to Letter.

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