Press Releases

Smith Statement on President’s Misguided Tax Proposal

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement regarding the President’s proposed tax plan:

April 27, 2017

“Our current tax code is overly-complex; there is no question it needs reexamination and overhaul. The tax proposal released today by President Trump would be disastrous.  Its almost singular focus on cutting taxes for wealthy people and companies will harm working people and undermine a healthy economy.

“It is deeply hypocritical for Republicans to have claimed for years that responsible budgets and limiting deficits matter, only to now support excessive and unpaid-for tax cuts. If spurring economic growth was as easy as cutting taxes, our economy would have grown considerably more in the past 16 years, following the Bush tax cuts. 

“The revenues generated by our tax system directly fund our government and its efforts to care for our fellow Americans, keep our country safe, and invest in the future through education, housing, research, defense, infrastructure, and other priorities.  This plan drastically reduces revenues and will devastate government and programs in all areas, explode budget deficits, and risk destroying our economy. I hope that my Republican colleagues in Congress will have the good sense to reject this unwise tax proposal and instead focus on making government work better for everyone.”  

“Protecting the planet and defending the environment must be a key priority for all of us. I am proud to represent a Congressional District where we care deeply about protecting our environment for generations to come. Earth Day has a strong history in our region, with community leader Denis Hayes serving as the coordinator for the first Earth Day in 1970. Today, those that call the Pacific Northwest home aspire to have a sustainable relationship with nature.

“As we celebrate Earth Day this year, we focus on the theme of 'Environmental and Climate Literacy' recognizing that we need to build a global community aware of and ready to tackle the problem of climate change. Efforts to combat climate change face unprecedented opposition in today's political climate. In response to this, leaders across the U. S. and around the world must look to the future with a renewed focus to create green job opportunities, provide energy savings, and build a healthier environment.

“In defense of our planet, I will continue to fight for communities, both around the world and in the U.S., who are the most vulnerable. As the second-largest emitter of pollution, with only about five percent of the world’s population, it is our responsibility to lead by example in reducing carbon emissions and ensure that people and communities of color are not forgotten. I am focused on ensuring these groups are fully engaged in designing and implementing policy solutions to ensure equitable outcomes. Together, we can save our planet and allow for future generations to lead promising and healthy lives.” 

Smith and Polis Introduce Legislation to Protect Data Privacy & Civil Liberties

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) and Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced legislation in the House of Representatives today to ensure Americans are not forced to endure indiscriminate and suspicionless searches of their phones, laptops and other digital devices just to cross the border. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced a similar bill in the Senate earlier this week. Under current law, Customs and Border Protection have extreme latitude to search anyone at the border of the United States. Agents have authority to delay your travel, detain you, and otherwise compel you to unlock your electronic device, social media accounts, and digital storage – all with no probable cause or other suspicion.

April 4, 2017

“A primary duty of the United States Government is to protect its citizens, but it is critical that in doing so we do not forget our obligation to protect the privacy and rights of Americans,” said Congressman Smith.  “This legislation will provide clear and commonsense legal avenues for the Department of Homeland Security to pursue those who commit crime and wish to do our country harm without infringing on the rights of American citizens.  Importantly, it will ensure that American citizens and legal residents returning to the U.S. from overseas are not subject to invasive, warrantless searches of their data. Your private information should remain just that – private.”

“The government should not have the right to access your personal electronic devices without probable cause,” Congressman Polis said. “Whether you are at home, walking down the street, or at the border, we must make it perfectly clear that our Fourth Amendment protections extend regardless of location. This bill is overdue, and I am glad we can come together in a bicameral, bipartisan manner to ensure that Customs and Border Patrol agents don’t continue to violate essential privacy safeguards.”

“The Supreme Court has made clear that generally law enforcement must get a warrant before searching an electronic device.  Yet, CBP continues to seize and search thousands of travelers’ devices every year without a warrant,” said Neema Singh Guliani, ACLU Legislative Counsel. “Congress must now take action to end this unwise and unconstitutional practice by enacting this important bill.”

"The Protecting Data at the Border Act is timely legislation that would rein in Customs and Border Protection. In recent months, we have seen an alarming increase in the number of invasive device searches at the border,” said EFF Staff Attorney Sophia Cope. “The extraordinary privacy interests in our cell phones and other mobile devices are not the same as those for a suitcase. EFF supports this important bill, which would require border agents to do what we believe the Constitution requires: get a probable cause warrant."

“A search of your cell phone or social media account is a direct look behind the curtain that covers the most intimate aspects of your life. A border stop shouldn’t be an excuse for extreme surveillance such as downloading the entire contents of your phone. This bill would ensure that the government demonstrates a good reason for searches at the border, and that a judge agrees,” said Greg Nojeim, CDT Director, Freedom, Security, and Technology Project.

Background:

The Protecting Data at the Border Act was introduced in response to recent countless stories of individuals being arbitrarily stopped at the border. These reports are both worrisome and threatening to the very principles of due process – a founding principle of our democratic system of government. Originally introduced by Congressman Smith as the “Traveler’s Privacy Protection Act,” this updated legislation reflects the changing digital landscape in which Americans are regularly engaged. 

  • The legislation will set strict standards on border searches for accessing not only electronic devices such as cell phones and laptops, but also to protecting the privacy of your data and information stored online.
  • This legislation would not in any way hamper the safety or security of travelers. It specifically allows for the screening of devices to ensure they are not otherwise dangerous (as is current standard practice when traveling inside the U.S.) The bill includes measures to ensure the privacy of your social media accounts, online presence data, and cloud storage.
  • This is not an exceptional standard – within the United States, these search protections exist under the 4th Amendment. The fact that we do not extend these constitutional protections to the border is something that, in this technological era, must be fixed immediately. 

The Protecting Data at the Border Act requires reasonable suspicion of illegal activity for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents to search the contents of laptop computers or other electronic devices carried by U.S. citizens or lawful residents, and it prohibits profiling travelers based on their race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin.  Additionally, the bill requires a warrant or court order to seize information uncovered during a search, and ensures that information acquired during an electronic search is protected by strict disclosure limitations. Reporting requirements also mandate that DHS provides information on its border search policies and practices to Congress and the public.

 

 

“Today is Equal Pay Day, 94 days after the new year, and the day when women’s wages finally catch up to what men were paid in the previous year. It is unacceptable that 53 years after passing the Equal Pay Act, women still make 79 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. We cannot afford to wait any longer. Congress must act now to make equal pay for equal work a reality and close the gender pay gap.

“For this reason, I am a proud cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act to strengthen and close loopholes in the 1963 Equal Pay Act. Every year that we do not pass this legislation, women are losing out on thousands of dollars they have rightfully earned. The wage discrepancy costs American women an average of $430,480 by the time they turn 65. For women of color, the injustice is even greater. On average across the country, Latinas earn 55 cents, and African American women earn 60 cents for every dollar earned by their white male counterparts.

“Equal pay is not just good for women. It isn’t just the moral thing to do, it is the logical thing to do for business, for families and for the economy. When women succeed, America succeeds. More families than ever before depend on women’s wages. When we close the pay gap, we will be putting money into the pockets of middle-class American families, stimulating the economy, and investing in our children’s education.

“We must continue fighting for policies that move us towards a more fair and equal society. We cannot rest until gender-based discrimination is a distant memory.”

 

Bipartisan, Bicameral Washington Members Introduce Bill to Designate Mountains to Sound Greenway as National Heritage Area

Washington D.C. –Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) introduced a bill to designate Washington state’s Mountains to Sound Greenway—1.5 million acres of land stretching along the Interstate 90 corridor from Seattle to Ellensburg—as a National Heritage Area to help preserve and promote its scenery, resources and history for future generations. U.S. Representatives Dave Reichert (R-Wash.-08) and Adam Smith (D-Wash.-09) have introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives.

March 30, 2017

The Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area Act would recognize a scenic byway and historic transportation corridor through 2,400 square miles that includes the Cascade peaks, wilderness lakes and forests, as well as a network of roads, rails and trails. It includes farms and forests, historic sites, lakes, campgrounds, rivers and wildlife habitat. The area is home to 1.4 million residents in 28 cities and 1,600 miles of trails.

The Mountains to Sound National Heritage Area could become the first such designation in the Pacific Northwest. Congress has designated 49 National Heritage Areas nationwide to promote local economic growth and tourism, and to preserve sites and landmarks with cultural and historical significance. 

“The recreation economy is one of the largest job creators. Protecting special places like the Mountains to Sound Greenway would help boost tourism to some of Washington state’s most scenic and historic landscapes,” Sen. Cantwell said. “I am proud to work with Sen. Murray, Reps. Reichert and Smith, and the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust to establish this National Heritage Area and build on nearly two decades of efforts to preserve our state’s natural landscape for future generations.” 

“No matter what the political climate, it’s so important we continue to push to preserve our most precious natural spaces – and I’m proud to continue this fight to protect the Mountains to Sound Greenway,” Sen. Murray said. “Outdoor recreation is a key part of Washington state’s economy, and this designation will draw even more tourists to appreciate our unique natural resources, and support local economic development from Ellensburg to Seattle and every community in between.”

“Washington’s natural beauty attracts visitors from across the country and globe who want to experience our mountains, rivers, lakes, and forests,” Rep. Reichert said. “Living with these natural treasures in our backyard has not only taught us the importance of conservation, but have shown us being stewards of the land can also grow our local economy. With an already strong outdoor recreation and tourism industry, protecting the Mountains to Sound Greenway promises to create more jobs in our region, while preserving these valuable sites and landmarks for future generations to enjoy. I have been proud to work with a bipartisan group of Washington colleagues in both the Senate and the House on this initiative that benefits constituents across district and party lines.”

“The Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area designation is critical to achieving a sustainable relationship between Washington state residents and nature in the Puget Sound Region,” Rep. Adam Smith said. “The diverse coalition of organizations, local Tribes, community members, as well as bicameral and bipartisan Congressional leaders supporting this effort, speaks to the value our community places on protecting our environment for generations to come.”

National Heritage Areas are Congressional-designated partnerships between the National Park Service, states and local communities through which the Park Service supports local and state efforts to preserve natural resources and promote tourism. National Heritage Areas are not part of the National Park System. No federal regulations are imposed, and no private land is affected or acquired.

Since 1991, the nonprofit Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust has worked to preserve the area’s scenic landscapes for recreation, education and conservation. More than 900,000 acres of land now are publicly-owned, including parks and forests such as Tiger Mountain, Snoqualmie Pass and Mount Si.

Heritage Area designations are eligible for federal grants and can help draw financial contributions from state, local and private sources. A recent economic impact study indicates National Heritage Areas contribute $12.9 billion annually to the national economy and support 148,000 jobs, according to the Park Service. On average, Heritage Areas generate about $263 million in economic activity and support about 3,000 jobs, primarily through tourism and visitor spending.

Other National Heritage Areas nationwide include: the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area in Springfield, Illinois; the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and the Baltimore National Heritage Area in Baltimore, Maryland.

Heritage Area designations also help coordinate marketing and tourism promotion, such as developing websites, putting up highway signs to advertise sites, sponsoring festivals, and publishing brochures and tour maps. Heritage Areas also can help with assisting in the operation of museums and visitor centers.

 

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