Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement after the House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act:

“America is experiencing a moment of profound pain and sadness as we grieve for George Floyd and countless others killed by police brutality and racial injustice. George Floyd was killed one month ago today and since then, Americans from every walk of life across the country have been protesting and demanding action and change. Systemic racism continues to permeate all corners of our country’s institutions, burdening so many Black Americans and other communities of color. Today we honor the lives of all killed by police brutality with real change.

“The Justice in Policing Act is a bold step to enact comprehensive reforms to curb police brutality and end racial profiling. It provides accountability and transparency to fundamentally change the culture of law enforcement. While this bill is an essential step, our work is far from finished. This is but one step in the much larger process of ensuring justice and equality for all. I will continue to work towards the dramatic changes required in all aspects of our society to end systemic racism and excessive police force in our country.

“This bill would ban police chokeholds and no-knock warrants and hold police accountable by ending qualified immunity for law enforcement. It would also establish a national standard for the operation of police departments, mandate data collection on police encounters, reprogram existing funds to invest in transformative community-based policing programs, and streamline federal law to prosecute excessive force and establish independent prosecutors for police investigations.

“We must reimagine public safety in an equitable way to empower our communities. This bill supports critical programs to change the culture of law enforcement and reinvests in our communities by establishing public safety innovation grants for community-based organizations, local commissions, and task forces.

“I stand proudly with my colleagues on the Congressional Black Caucus who introduced the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and will continue to work together to advance this transformative legislation. However, there is still much more work to be done. Hate and racism have no place in our country – I will continue to do everything in my power to fight for racial justice and end police brutality.”

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SEATTLE, WA – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement in honor of Juneteenth after attending a rally organized at Judkins Park in Seattle’s Central District to discuss police reform and accountability:

“On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free – two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

“Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, and we commemorate this end of slavery 155 years later. However, this day comes during a moment of profound sadness as we grieve for the hundreds of Black Americans killed by racial injustice and police brutality including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others. The fight for justice and equality is still ongoing and systemic change is long overdue.

“Juneteenth marks one of the most important moments in our country's history with the end of slavery and symbolizes the beginning of freedom for so many Black Americans. I remain committed to doing everything in my power to fight hate and racism and I will not stop until every American has equal opportunities to succeed.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after the Navy concluded an additional investigation of the COVID-19 outbreak aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt:

“The severity of the COVID spread on the Roosevelt, coupled with the fact that it was the first major outbreak DoD faced, warranted thorough investigation. The findings in the Navy’s extended investigation makes it clear that the Navy did not respond the way they should have, or as quickly as they should have, to adequately address the outbreak.

“Everyone up and down the chain of command had a role to play in the inadequate response – including then-Acting Secretary of the Navy Modly. The Department’s civilian leadership portrayed Captain Crozier’s decision-making aboard the Roosevelt as the critical weakness in the Navy’s response, but the truth is that civilian leadership was also to blame.

“In order to better understand the full range of mistakes that were made throughout the entire chain of command, the House Armed Services Committee has launched an investigation into the COVID-19 outbreak aboard the Roosevelt.

“While the committee works on our own investigation, it is my hope that the Navy will learn from this series of mistakes. Modly’s incredibly poor decision to relieve Captain Crozier because of an email was only made worse by his equally poor decision to visit the ship and berate the commander after he left. Modly’s bad decision-making underscores the importance of sound civilian leadership at the Department. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. The Navy and DoD will continue to grapple with the challenges presented by the pandemic for months to come. Civilian leadership at the Department of the Defense is crucial to our national security, and as such they must be held accountable as we move forward.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement today on the Supreme Court ruling against the Trump administration’s challenge to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:

“The Supreme Court’s decision to reject the Trump Administration’s effort to rescind the DACA program is a win for DREAMers and all Americans. The President’s attempt to immediately end the program was yet another dangerous attack in the Administration’s incessant anti-immigration agenda.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling was made possible by the strength and efforts of the hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients who fought to build lives in the country that is and always has been home. DREAMers are our neighbors, colleagues and friends, and we all benefit from their contributions to our nation as a result of this life-changing program.

“While this ruling provides temporary relief, we must continue to fight for DREAMers and creating a permanent path to citizenship building upon the protections provided by the DACA program. The Senate must pass the Dream and Promise Act to ensure DACA recipients contributing to our communities finally have a path to citizenship.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement today on President Trump’s Executive Order on policing and law enforcement:

“The President’s Executive Order takes a weak approach to addressing policing and fails to contain even the most basic measures to effectively reform and set new law enforcement standards. The Executive Order lacks any meaningful, mandated steps to enhance accountability for police misconduct amidst this epidemic of racial injustice and police brutality that disproportionately impacts Black Americans across the country.

“I am proud to join my colleagues on the Congressional Black Caucus who introduced the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act which takes bold steps to address police brutality, to end racial profiling, to ban police chokeholds and no-knock warrants, and to hold police accountable by ending qualified immunity for law enforcement. This legislation will fundamentally change policing and substantively address systemic racism – there must be accountability and transparency.

"While our nation is still suffering from the enduring impacts of systemic racism, we must take courageous steps to help our communities heal and make unprecedented changes that ensure each and every person is protected."

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