Press Releases

Washington D.C.Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in honor of Memorial Day, observed on Monday, May 28, 2018.

“On Memorial Day, we honor the men and women who serve our country, and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of our country. On this day, we express our gratitude to the servicemembers who work to secure peace throughout the world.

“As Ranking Member on the Armed Services committee, I will continue to fight for servicemembers and their families, ensuring they receive the support and resources they have earned. Memorial Day serves a uniting force in America, in which every American can reflect on the American values that make our country strong and prosperous. I join our entire country in honoring our veterans who lost their lives while preserving our freedom.”

Washington, D.C. – Today, Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee offered an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to provide for noise mitigation for the Highline School District. Amendment #538 clarifies that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) can provide funding for noise mitigation to schools that are outside the current noise contours if the FAA entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the schools before September 2002.

“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. Today’s amendment, crafted with bipartisan support and in coordination with the House Transportation Committee will help ensure that promises made to our local schools are kept. 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.”

Background:

Smith authored the amendment to ensure that funding for noise mitigation agreed upon in a 2002 MOA between the Port of Seattle, the FAA, and Highline School District was provided to two remaining schools that were recently deemed ineligible for funding. Since the MOA was signed, the noise contours around the airport changed, leaving the two schools in areas where the FAA could not legally provide mitigation despite the prior agreement being in place. This amendment will allow for the FAA to provide the promised funding to the remaining schools so that they can acquire insulated doors, windows, and other forms of sound mitigation.

on D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith spoke on the House Floor during debate of the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act:

Click here and look below for House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith’s remarks on fiscal responsibility and the FY 19 defense bill: https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4730838/rep-adam-smith-debates-fiscal-responsibility-fy19-ndaa

Click here and look below for Smith’s remarks on nuclear weapons and the FY 19 defense bill: https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4730832/rep-adam-smith-debates-nuclear-weapons-fy19-ndaa

Click here for Smith’s full opening remarks in debate on the FY 19 defense bill: https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4730829/rep-adam-smith-debates-fy19-ndaa

Remarks on fiscal responsibility:

"In these times of scarce resources, it is incredibly important that we get the most out of what we spend. On that point: I do worry about the future, from a fiscal standpoint. We are right now spending roughly 20% more money than we take in every year, and that is projected to go up. The debt-to-GDP ratio is over 100% and, again, is projected to only go up. 

"Now we’ve got the deal for FY 18 and FY 19, which gives some degree of predictability for our military and that’s good. Because the last, gosh, eight years now we have gone from CR to CR, a couple government shutdowns, a number of threatened government shutdowns, and a large amount of unpredictability. Which is a problem for the entire discretionary budget, not just the Department of Defense. Every other department that is dependent on the discretionary budget has lived with uncertainty. That makes our government less efficient and less effective. We need to lock in more predictability. 

"Now, traditionally at this point, this is when everyone says that the Budget Control Act and the budget caps have got to go. And I agree with that. The problem is you get rid of the budget caps, you get rid of the Budget Control Act—and we certainly should: that was passed back in 2011 and it wasn’t even passed for a good reason back then—but even if you get rid of those caps, it doesn’t make money magically appear

"We still have the debt and the deficit that we are facing. We still have the crushing needs that we have, not just in the Department of Defense, but in infrastructure and research and education and a whole bunch of critical areas to the health and well-being of our country. 

"Somehow in the next few years--and I’ll admit I was joking when someone talked about his fiscal hawk credentials that I’m wondering if anybody has fiscal hawk credentials at this point when you look at the debt and deficit--we have got to get that in order. Now I don’t think we’re going to balance the budget tomorrow. I don’t think we should—I think the impact on the economy would be devastating. But we’ve got to get on a glide path to a more fiscally sustainable situation or we are headed for trouble. I simply don’t believe that you can spend 20% more money than you take in, forever, and have it not be a problem. 

"And everything you want to know about how big a problem this is is contained in three votes that I think we took over a one-month, couple-month period. There are many, many members of Congress who voted for the tax cut, which estimates are it’s going to reduce our revenue by $2 trillion; for the spending agreement, which increased our spending by $500 billion; and then a week later they voted for a balanced budget amendment. To say that that’s a math problem is the understatement of the evening. 

"It doesn’t add up. We all say we want to balance the budget, we don’t want to raise taxes, we don’t want to cut spending. That doesn’t work, and a lot of different aspects of our government pay a price for that, but the Department of Defense is one of the biggest. As the largest portion of the discretionary budget, they pay the highest price when we don’t get ourselves on a fiscally responsible path, and national security is at least one of if not the most important function that our government needs to provide. 

"So I think FY 18 and FY 19, those are good deals, but building for the future, we have got to get on a fiscally responsible path. But again within this bill, and you’ve heard a lot of it from our members, there are a lot of good policies that I think are going to make a very positive difference in terms of making our Department of Defense work better, and most importantly providing for the men and women who serve our country and their families."

Remarks on nuclear weapons:

"The one thing that I would point out that is the most troubling to me is the endorsement of the Nuclear Posture Review that was just put forward by the administration. I am very concerned, number one, that we are spending too much money on our nuclear weapons arsenal going forward, and what impact will that have on those other needs that I mentioned just a minute ago?: What impact will that have on readiness? What impact will it have on our ability to have the forces forward deployed enough to deter Russia, to deter North Korea, to deal with China’s rise in Asia?

"So I think we are overemphasizing nuclear weapons, number one, in terms of the amount of money that we are spending on them, but equally as troubling, this bill authorizes low-yield nuclear weapons for the first time in a very long time. It even authorizes a low-yield nuclear weapon for our submarines. I believe that puts us down a dangerous course. We need to make sure we are deterring any possibility of nuclear war.

"There is a huge risk as Russia rises back up, with what North Korea is doing, now that we’re not in the nuclear agreement with Iran—what they might be doing—that we must avoid miscalculation and stumbling into a nuclear war. Thinking that there is such a thing as a tactical nuclear weapon, a weapon small enough that it doesn’t really rise to the level of the other nuclear weapons, I think is a mistake. And, yes, I know Russia is building them. So the question is how do we deter Russia?

"Well, I think we deter Russia in a very straightforward way. We have over 4,000 nuclear warheads. We have more than enough nuclear firepower to present a credible deterrent to what they are doing. We don’t have to say, well, if you use a small nuclear weapon, we won’t want to use a bigger one in response. We want to say that our deterrence is, if you cross the red line of all red lines and use a nuclear weapon, we will respond overwhelmingly. We want to make sure it never happens.”

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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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