Press Releases

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.

 

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) introduced legislation designating the post office at 4301 NE 4th Street in Renton, Washington as the James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix Post Office. The post office is less than one mile from the site of where Hendrix is buried at Greenwood Memorial Park and is located on the same street as his childhood home.

“Renaming the Renton Highlands Post Office the ‘Jimi Hendrix Post Office Building’ is one more way we can celebrate the legacy of one of the greatest musicians of our time and the importance of the south Seattle and Renton areas in his enduring legacy. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame calls Hendrix, ‘the most gifted instrumentalist of all time, a self-taught electric guitarist whose fluid, immersive style was perfectly suited to embrace – and then revolutionize – the late 60’s psychedelic rock movement.’ The Puget Sound Region is home to a museum that showcases Hendrix’s life and work, a park dedicated to his memory, and several memorials visited by thousands every year. This designation will further honor this iconic artist and his Seattle roots,” said Congressman Adam Smith.

The legislation is supported by each member of the Washington state Delegation.

 

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives Smith, Khanna, O’Rourke, and Pocan made the following statements about major provisions on Yemen that House Armed Services Committee Democrats negotiated into the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA.) The bill passed the House today by a vote of 359-54.

“There is a terrible humanitarian crisis occurring in Yemen, and it deserves our attention in Washington,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “That’s why I successfully fought to include the following provisions while negotiating the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):

  • Addressing U.S. in-flight refueling of Saudi-coalition aircraft: Prohibits the in-flight refueling of Saudi Arabian or Saudi-led coalition non-U.S. aircraft conducting missions in Yemen, unless certifications are provided by the Secretary of State that the governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE are taking certain actions related to the civil war in Yemen. Also requires the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the administrator of USAID to detail a humanitarian support strategy for Yemen, including efforts to coordinate civilian and military efforts; the diplomatic strategy with respect to regional partners seeking to end the civil war; and the role that humanitarian support to civilian populations plays in U.S. strategy.
  • International human rights: Requires the Secretary of Defense to conduct a review to determine whether U.S. Armed Forces or U.S. partners have violated laws or internationally recognized human rights while conducting operations in Yemen, including those related to the interrogation of Yemeni citizens in prisons within Yemen. 
  • U.S. strategy and involvement on Yemen: Requires the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to Congress on the U.S. strategy and activities in Yemen, including: the diplomatic and security objectives; indicators for the effectiveness of U.S. military efforts to achieve such objectives or goals; and the costs associated with the military involvement of the U.S. Armed Forces in Yemen. 
  • Ex gratia payments: Extends authority for the U.S. to make ex gratia payments in Yemen for civilian casualties. 

“These will be major steps promoting accountability regarding Yemen’s civil war. I am pleased that we are able to make concrete progress on this issue,” Congressman Smith added. “I strongly urge all sides of this conflict to implement a countrywide cease-fire, and work with the U.N. Special Envoy to negotiate a peaceful resolution to this violence. In Congress, we will keep fighting for transparency and accountability on Yemen. We must be willing to continue to act in the face of this growing crisis.”

“I’ve taken bold actions since coming to Congress and worked to remedy the current humanitarian crisis in Yemen being caused by the Saudi-led war in Yemen,” said Congressman Ro Khanna. “As we break for August recess, I want to make it clear to the Saudi-led coalition that Congress is watching. We find additional military hostilities in Hodeida unacceptable and such action will prompt new congressional action. We hope the Saudi-led coalition will work with Martin Griffiths to choose diplomacy over war.”

“We are participating in the war in Yemen — I’m grateful that these provisions will ensure that more Americans have a better understanding of our involvement and its consequences,” said Congressman Beto O-Rourke.

“The provisions in this bill reflect deep, bipartisan concern in Congress over the mass hunger, cholera, and poverty engulfing the country of Yemen. The Trump Administration has expanded U.S. military participation alongside the Saudis and Emiratis in Yemen without Congressional authorization, aggravating the suffering of 8 million Yemenis on the brink of starvation. I look forward to Secretary Pompeo’s compliance with required reports to Congress on good-faith efforts being made by the Saudi coalition to end the war and alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Should the Trump administration tolerate a renewed escalation of hostilities, such as a siege on the vital city of Hodeida, I stand ready to work with my Democratic and Republican colleagues to end U.S. involvement in the conflict,” said Congressman Mark Pocan.

###