Press Releases

Congressman Smith Presents Congressional Award Medals to Local Students at Town Hall Event

Renton, WA - Congressman Adam Smith presented Congressional Award Medals to local students at his town hall event in Tukwila on Saturday, August 12, 2017. Rep. Smith released the following statement in advance of the awards ceremony:

August 11, 2017

“It is a privilege to see young students, like our local Congressional Award Medal recipients, demonstrate personal initiative and a sincere commitment to bettering Puget Sound communities. I look forward to hearing about the accomplishments of these young leaders in the future. Their teachers, mentors, parents, and communities should all be incredibly proud of their accomplishments. It is my hope that by presenting these awards at my town hall, I can celebrate the spirit of community and service, and help to encourage more students across the District to participate in Congressional Awards Program.”

Established in 1979, the Congressional Award is the highest honor Congress bestows upon a youth civilian. In order to receive the award, these young Americans must demonstrate a commitment to voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness, and exploration. 

9th Congressional District 2017 Congressional Award Medal Recipients

 

Bronze

Gabriel Helms

Owen Benda

Silver

Jamin Zheng

Andrew Wittenmyer

Jiayi Wang

Malav Dipankar

Angela Lin*

Gold

Nicholas Grosinger*

Jessica Waller

William Waller

*Denotes students in attendance at the town hall. Students unable to attend will receive their Congressional Award Medals at an alternate date and time.

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Medalist William "Max" Waller

Congressman Smith Commemorates the 52nd Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

Washington, D.C. - August 6, 2017 marks the 52nd anniversary of the enactment of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965. In honor of this anniversary, Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement:

August 4, 2017

“On the 52nd anniversary of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), we celebrate one of our country’s most important civil rights laws. As we remember this landmark legislation, we must also denounce the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder ruling. This decision gutted portions of the VRA, allowing states with a history of voter discrimination the autonomy to re-implement discriminatory voting restrictions. In response to the Shelby v. Holder case, I have cosponsored the Voting Rights Advancement Act. This legislation will institute protections to combat voter discrimination across the country, responds to the rise in modern-day voter disenfranchisement, and helps restore the critical protections of the VRA.

“Suppressing voting rights is an outrageous attack on the foundation of democracy. As a member of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, I am committed to safeguarding the fundamental right to vote. Congress has a responsibility to protect this constitutional right, and we must do more to ensure all Americans have their voices heard at the ballot box.” 

Smith Statement Condemning RAISE Act

Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in opposition to the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, legislation introduced in the Senate by Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue and endorsed by President Trump:

August 3, 2017

“The United States has a proud history built on our founding as a nation of immigrants. Our existing immigration system is in dire need of reform, but the deeply prejudicial RAISE Act the President has endorsed is not the solution. This detestable proposal would slash our legal immigration program in half and keep families apart through dramatically altering our current family-based immigration system to a so-called merit-based program. The bill would also deny asylum to tens of thousands of refugees fleeing dangerous conditions and persecution. The RAISE Act contradicts American values, places the future of our economy at serious risk, and endangers our national security. President Trump’s support for the RAISE Act is based on a dangerous fear of America’s increasing diversity, and illustrates a clear misunderstanding of America’s heritage.

“The incredible diversity and the range of talents that immigrants have brought to the United States defines our country and our history. In the Puget Sound region, in addition to contributing to our community as scientists and innovators, immigrants are the backbone of our thriving service and tourism industries. Washington state is the third largest agricultural exporter in the United States, made possible only by the hard work of immigrants. We should be focused on legislation to fix our broken immigration system in a way that continues to grow our economy, enrich our culture, and reflect our founding principles. I will fight xenophobic proposals like the RAISE Act to ensure they do not become law.” 

Smith Statement Opposing Intelligence Authorization Act

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement after voting in opposition H.R. 3180, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018:

July 28, 2017

“Today, I voted against the Intelligence Authorization Act because of Congress’ lack of progress in negotiating reforms to, and increasing protections included in, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), as well as the rushed manner in which the bill was considered by the U.S. House of Representatives.  After attempting to bring the legislation up outside of regular order earlier this week, the House Republican leadership ultimately brought the bill to the House Floor today in a format that still did not allow for any amendments. Limiting the ability of Members to offer constructive changes on such a critical component of our government is a disservice to the democratic process.  Ultimately, I feel it is unacceptable to pass the authorization of our intelligence programs without a robust debate of important national security programs like Section 702 of FISA.

“Section 702 is a statue that authorizes the collection and use of electronic communications of non-U.S. persons without requiring a warrant or proving probable cause. I have concerns with how this section is being used.  It is unacceptable to pass a blanket extension of our intelligence programs without incorporating significant reforms to ensure the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans are safeguarded.  We must have a transparent and open debate about how we collect information, from whom we collect it, and how it is shared. Congress has a responsibility to thoroughly review and appropriately restructure Section 702 to ensure that American’s civil liberties are protected.  While the United States should be allowed to conduct foreign intelligence surveillance, we must remain vigilant in our protection of the Constitutional rights of American citizens.”

Congressman Smith Reintroduces Rural Economic Vitalization Act

Today, Congressman Adam Smith reintroduced the Rural Economic Vitalization Act (REVA), legislation that improves our wasteful, environmentally harmful, and economically inefficient federal grazing policy. This bill would update federal law to allow ranchers with grazing permits to voluntarily retire their permits to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service. Farmers would receive market value compensation for their permits, paid for by private parties, and the BLM and U.S. Forest Service would be allowed to permanently retire these grazing permits.

July 28, 2017

“We need to provide for more environmentally responsible and economically sound management of our public lands,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “As we look for sustainable solutions to our fiscal challenges, the Rural Economic Vitalization Act provides a mechanism to restore our public lands while providing economic opportunities. This legislation will benefit the American taxpayer while simultaneously protecting our environment.”

“First, I would like to thank Representative Smith for his leadership on this important issue.” said Rep. Raul Grijalva, who joined Congressman Smith in introducing the legislation. “The federal grazing program is in need of serious reform - the scale of taxpayer money that goes into subsidizing the industry, not to mention the negative impact on the environment, is often overlooked. By making it easier to voluntary retire permits, the Rural Economic Vitalization Act offers a solution that will reduce the impacts of grazing on public lands and complement federal conservation efforts throughout the Western United States, while giving ranchers new financial options. This commonsense bill is a win-win."

Background: Existing law does not allow for the retirement of grazing permits.  This outdated policy has negative impacts on wildlife, watersheds, and the surrounding ecosystem, which continue to be harmed by domestic livestock grazing.  In addition to the environmental issues that intensify the impacts of climate change, the federal grazing program is heavily subsidized and costs American taxpayers over $109.4 million a year. The Government Accountability Office reports that in Fiscal Year 2016, the BLM and U.S. Forest Service spent $135.9 million on grazing management, but only reported collecting $26.5 million in grazing fees.