Press Releases

Ranking Member Smith Statement on Tunnel Collapse at Hanford

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in response to the tunnel collapse at the Hanford Nuclear Site managed by the Department of Energy in Richland, Washington:

May 17, 2017

“This month’s tunnel breach at the Hanford Nuclear Site underscores the importance of policies that prioritize worker health and safety. While the complete collapse of the tunnel was averted, I remain concerned. The Department of Energy (DOE) is relying more on luck than on certainty that all measures have been taken to avoid a potential incident that could release radiation and contamination. Such an incident would cause unacceptable harm, endanger lives and require long-term evacuations of the area and huge remediation costs. There have been too many near-misses across the nuclear complex. In addition to this latest incident, there are on-going concerns about noxious fumes at Hanford. Looking beyond Hanford to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, in 2014, a drum burst because of an inexcusable typo in drum packing guidance which could have killed or sickened workers at the site had the underground area not been evacuated a week prior due to an unrelated incident. The culture of complacency cannot continue.

“A successful clean-up of Hanford requires rigorous safety rules and regulations, as well as a strong and reliable safety culture that focuses on protecting the men and women conducting the essential, and often dangerous, work at the site. The DOE and its partners must demonstrate that it has met these objectives and use all incentives and coercive measures at its disposal to do so. The health and safety of employees at Hanford must always come before consideration of the bottom line.

“As Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I will carefully monitor the investigation into the tunnel collapse and efforts to ensure that the risk of another collapse at additional tunnels is as close to zero as possible. I remain committed to ensuring a safe and transparent clean-up at Hanford and I will continue to fight to ensure that the DOE has the well-being of all workers as a top priority and that it has the resources it needs to do so.” 

“President Trump's decision to fire FBI director James Comey is deeply disturbing.  It comes as Comey is in the midst of an investigation into possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russian operatives to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.  We know the Russians were behind the hacking of DNC emails and that they did so to try and give Trump an advantage in the election.  Furthermore, there is troubling evidence of connections between a number of Trump campaign operatives and the Russians, connections that on more than one occasion those Trump campaign officials were caught lying about.

“FBI Director Comey was in charge of what was the one clearly independent investigation of this unprecedented interference in our elections by a foreign power.  Did Trump fire Comey to stop this investigation?  There is no way to prove that, but it is a very troubling coincidence.  Coupled with President Trump's refusal to turn over his tax returns and continuing denial of what the Russians clearly did in the election, there is every reason to believe our president is acting to stop any legitimate investigation into those Russian actions.

“We are a nation of laws, not individuals.  By firing Director Comey President Trump has shown he does not understand this basic, governing, Constitutional principle of our nation.  We must continue to push for a special prosecutor to get to the bottom of what happened in the 2016 election and not let this President sweep it under the rug.” 

Smith Statement Condemning Executive Order Expanding Religious Liberty

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in response to President Trump’s executive order greatly expanding religious organization’s freedom in political speech:

May 5, 2017

“The executive order President Trump signed today allows for discrimination under the guise of religious freedom. I respect the fundamental right of free exercise of religion, but not at the expense of women’s personal health decisions that should be left between them, their doctor, and their family. Freedom of religion does not include the right to impose those beliefs on others.  

“I strongly support increasing access to family planning services. We need to fight for equality for all – not encourage and legitimize those who seek to limit women’s reproductive rights. Family planning has been proven to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and, as a result, the total number of abortions. I will continue to fight this and similar attacks every step of the way.” 

Smith Statement on Republican Vote to Limit Health Coverage

Washington D.C. – Congressman Smith released the following statement in response to the Republican health care bill passed by the House today:

May 4, 2017

“House Republicans voted today to eliminate essential health benefits and protections for Americans.  No one—especially not those Republicans who voted to pass it—bothered to consider the costs or the actual impacts of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on working Americans, those with pre-existing conditions, and people who rely on Medicare and Medicaid. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was by no means a cure to all of our healthcare challenges, but today’s bill ignores any opportunity for meaningful changes, and instead represents a dangerous leap backwards.

“Prior to the 2010 enactment of the ACA, health care costs were rapidly increasing, government budgets were straining under health costs, and many patients, including those with pre-existing conditions, were unable to access affordable health coverage. We simply cannot revert to a system that allows costs to increase unchecked, insures too few, and drains our economy.

“Republicans, driven by a desire to deliver on a political promise, made irresponsible and harmful changes to the ACHA, which erode essential protections and high quality care, solely to placate Members of the House Republican caucus. Republicans are kidding themselves if they believe eliminating coverage for millions is a desirable approach to further improving health care in this country. Rather than building upon our existing health care law, they are systematically destroying our health care structure. Republicans, led by President Trump, have already undermined the current system by inserting uncertainty and instability into the market, rolling back key consumer protections, weakening enforcement of the individual mandate, and tampering with rules to benefit insurers at the cost of the American people.

“Today’s vote is the height of irresponsibility. Republicans hold power at all levels of our federal government. They must govern for all Americans, not just their ideologically-driven base, and take the time to craft a bipartisan health care bill that improves the health and wellbeing of all Americans.” 

“It is my honor to recognize the Odle Middle School team from Bellevue, Washington, for winning their regional competition in this year’s National Science Bowl. They have advanced to represent Washington state in the National Science Bowl’s National Finals, which will be held in Washington, D.C. this weekend.

“To advance to the National Finals, the students answered challenging questions focused on math, earth science, and biology, in a fast-paced quiz bowl format. The students competed with more than 9,000 high school students and 4,500 middle school students in 70 high school and 50 middle school regional Science Bowl tournaments.

“I would like to acknowledge the hard work and discipline these students and their coach displayed in preparing for this challenging competition. They should be enormously proud of their accomplishment in making it to the National Finals.

“Today, I had the pleasure of meeting these incredibly bright and remarkable students while they were here in D.C. I wish them luck this weekend in the National Finals of the Science Bowl, and I know they will make Odle Middle School and our region proud. I look forward to seeing the contributions these students will have in their community and our country as future leaders in whatever endeavors they decide to pursue.”

 

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