Press Releases

SEATTLE, WA – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today released the following statement on the passing of Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and National Security Advisor.
“Today we mourn the loss of a committed public servant in Colin Powell. Secretary Powell served multiple presidents both in and out of uniform as Secretary of State, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and National Security Advisor — and as the first Black person to serve in these three critical roles. But the central theme of Colin Powell’s impressive career and life was service ultimately to the United States. The son of Jamaican immigrants, a proud product of New York City public schools, and a Vietnam War veteran, Powell witnessed history even as he made it. Our thoughts today are with his loved ones and all who may walk the trails he blazed.”


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), along with 37 of his colleagues, sent Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh a letter regarding oversight of the internship economy. The letter urges the Department of Labor to create reporting requirements for unpaid internships so the Bureau of Labor Statistics can track this data and provide appropriate oversight.

“Internships are viewed as a necessity towards career advancement and without federal data on unpaid internships, the risk of upholding and exacerbating inequity increases,” the Members wrote.

In their letter, the Members also outlined four points that they say would go a long way in addressing some of the critical challenges currently facing young workers across the nation, including pay and workplace rights and protections.

“Internships are increasingly important in today’s economy, making it difficult to enter the workforce for those who cannot afford to work on an unpaid basis. Gaining experience simply isn’t enough, and getting ‘paid’ in experience is unacceptable,” said Representative Adam Smith (WA-09). “I have long advocated for intern pay in Congressional offices and successfully led efforts to increase funding for offices to pay interns. These paid internships help ensure that young workers from all backgrounds – not just those who can afford it – have the chance to learn and gain valuable experience while bringing diversity of ideas and background to their offices. If we are to increase accessibility to paid internships, it is critical we have accurate data to provide appropriate oversight of the internship economy. This is just one of many steps to help build a more equitable, sustainable economy.”

A full copy of the letter can be found here.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, along with the entire Democratic Washington delegation, sent Secretary of State Antony Blinken a letter regarding the effort to evacuate American citizens, U.S. legal permanent residents, other foreign nationals, and Afghans at risk out of Afghanistan. The letter outlines several actions that the Members urge the Department of State to take as they navigate the evacuation process.
“Over the last few weeks, our offices have heard from Afghan Americans living in Washington, international non-profit organizations, former service members and other individuals residing in our state working to evacuate families, colleagues, and loved ones from Afghanistan. As the State Department leads evacuation efforts, we urge you to consider the following actions” the Members wrote.
The Members call for thirteen concrete steps to help ensure the continued evacuation of individuals at risk in Afghanistan. This includes appointing a Special Enjoy at the State Department to lead and coordinate evacuation efforts with the international community and improving communication and collaboration with civil society groups working to evacuate employees and their families. The letter also urges the State Department to expedite and improve the processing of Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) and P-1, P-2, and P-3 referrals and ensure U.S. evacuation support all Afghans at-risk such as those working on women’s rights, journalists, promoters of human rights, and aid workers by making full use of humanitarian parole authorities.
The members continued, “We recognize the unprecedented nature of the evacuation efforts out of Afghanistan and greatly appreciate the tireless work by State Department and other U.S. government personnel. We stand ready to support you in Congress with any additional resources or authorizations necessary.”
A full copy of the letter can be found here.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), along with the Democratic Washington delegation, sent Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tae Johnson a letter regarding the health and safety of detained people and staff at the Northwest ICE Processing Center (NWIPC) following repeated COVID-19 outbreaks at the facility.
“We have received multiple reports concerning the conditions of confinement and a consistent lack of, or refusal to adhere to, evidence-based health mitigation measures in the facility as well as during the process of transferring individuals to the facility. These actions have endangered detained migrants and staff in the ICE detention center, leading to the current major outbreak and continued spread of COVID-19 at the facility,” the members said.

Since early June, there have been more than 300 COVID-19 cases at the NWIPC.  Unfortunately, this is not the first instance that unsafe conditions have been reported at the NWIPC, as years of personal interviews with individuals and reports have uncovered inadequate medical care, poor nutrition, unsanitary living conditions, and the exploitation of labor.
“We understand that state and local public health officials have made requests and suggestions to mitigate against outbreaks within the NWIPC and improve coordination during the release of individuals from NWIPC. We also strongly encourage DHS to exercise its discretion to utilize alternatives to detention and prioritize the release of individuals, especially vulnerable individuals and those at higher medical risk, who do not need to be in detention,” the members continued. “We are gravely concerned about the health and safety of detained people and staff at the Northwest ICE Processing Center. The lack of adequate safety protocols during transfer, unsafe and cramped living conditions, and failure to adhere to recommendations on masking has fed into the growing COVID-19 outbreak and continued spread within the facility.  
“The federal government has an obligation to protect the health, safety, and rights of detained individuals and the wellbeing of the staff, families, and the surrounding communities of ICE detention centers. We urge DHS and ICE to take steps to review and improve current practices in transferring and maintaining the health and safety of people within detention at the NWIPC,” the members concluded.

A full copy of the letter can be found here.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) voted to pass H.R. 3755, the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) of 2021, which would create federal protections against state restrictions that aim to limit a person’s rights to abortion and abortion care. The WHPA would create a right for health care providers to provide abortion care, and a right for patients to receive that care, free from medically unnecessary restrictions that impede abortion access.
“Today I was incredibly proud to vote to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to protect the right to equal access to abortion for every person in our country, regardless of where they live. Personal decisions about a person’s body should be left between the person and their doctor – a precedent established by the Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade (1973) – period, full stop.
“However, in recent years we have seen unconstitutional and cruel state legislation that deliberately violates the rights codified in Roe that have successfully undermined or functionally eliminated access to abortion. As a result, access to both abortion care and reproductive health services have suffered. People should not have to depend on their zip code or socioeconomic status to access the full suite of reproductive health care options they are guaranteed under the Constitution.  As hundreds of these aggressive, invasive, and unconstitutional laws are introduced across the country one thing is abundantly clear: urgent Congressional action is in dire need.
“Today House Democrats rose to the occasion and for the first time in nearly 30 years Congress has taken proactive action to protect every person’s right to control their own health care. Now the Senate must take up this critical legislation to prevent the evisceration of abortion access.”