Press Releases

Smith Statement on Republican Plan to Replace the Affordable Care Act

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in response to the Republican’s hastily introduced health bill:

March 14, 2017

“I am strongly opposed to the Republican plan to replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as ‘Obamacare.’ This legislation, known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA), introduced earlier this month, would take health insurance away from millions of people, hurt low-income and older Americans, and create considerable uncertainty about health care and insurance.

“I am very concerned about the potential impact of the AHCA. Despite promises made by House Republicans, individuals with pre-existing conditions and others who gained healthcare under the ACA will be at risk of the quality of their coverage being reduced or losing health insurance entirely. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that 14 million more people would be uninsured in just the first year of enactment of the AHCA but that 24 million in total are estimated to lose coverage over the next ten years. Insurance companies would be allowed to charge higher premiums for older Americans as well as those who lapse in coverage. It would cut $170 billion from the Medicare Trust Fund, putting at risk coverage for 57 million Americans. Additionally, the AHCA eliminates the ACA’s Medicaid expansion; which has extended coverage to over 59,000 constituents of the Ninth Congressional District of Washington. Many more individuals could also be negatively impacted if, as many fear, this legislation upends the broader health care and insurance marketplace; leading to higher costs and reduced access to care for all. The Republican plan benefits those who are young, healthy, or those who are wealthy at the sacrifice of those who are not.

“I supported the passage and enactment of the ACA in 2010. It is one of the most important steps taken in many years to reform health care and health insurance, as well as to address serious problems with our health care system. Prior to the 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 needed action on these tough issues. 

“Repealing the ACA would take us back to a time where millions of Americans were uninsured. The ACA is not perfect and we still have a long way to go to improve our health care system to increase access and bring costs down. I support addressing those provisions of the health care law that are burdensome to individuals and problematic for businesses.

“We should not, however, repeal the entire law or weaken its core tenets. We simply cannot revert to an old health care system that allows costs to increase unchecked, insures too few, and drains our economy while providing us too little in return.

“I will work to ensure that health care remains affordable and accessible to everyone. Eliminating the ACA would hurt the millions of Americans who depend on the many positive aspects of the law and could leave our health care system in a state of disarray and dysfunction. I will do everything in my power as a Member of Congress to protect our most vulnerable citizens and access to affordable and quality health care coverage.” 

Smith Statement on Nomination of Mr. David Friedman as U.S. Ambassador to Israel

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement regarding the nomination of Mr. David Freidman to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Israel:

March 14, 2017

“I have been a strong supporter of the State of Israel and a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian territories for a long time.  I believe our partnership with Israel and its people is critical and in our national security interests.  I have been troubled by the lack of progress on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, from the unresolved and unhelpful settlements and lack of recognition of Israel's right to exist, to the violence that has taken innocent lives on both sides and has unfortunately set back the path towards peace.  For the Israelis and Palestinians to reach a lasting peace, we must have persistent, high-level U.S. engagement with both Israel and the Palestinians in order to build such peace and arrive at a two state solution.

“I also believe that both Israelis and Palestinians have the right to live in peace and security.  Since its creation in 1948, Israel has been under constant threat of attack. It is critical that we continue to support Israel’s qualitative military edge and ability to defend itself.  I am also sympathetic to the plight of Palestinians and believe that, in order for there to be long-term security and peace in the region; they too must have a state of their own. I know that the overwhelming majority of the people in Israel and Palestine want to live and raise their families in peace.  The only way to reach a two state solution is for Israel and the Palestinian people to directly negotiate and reach an agreement together. 

“It is for those reasons, that I am troubled by and oppose the nomination of Mr. David Friedman to serve as the next U.S. Ambassador to Israel.  Mr. Friedman’s experience as President Trump’s bankruptcy lawyer does not qualify him to lead diplomatic efforts to resolve one of the most complicated matters in the world.  Indeed, the last ten U.S. Ambassadors—in both Republican and Democratic Administrations—had prior United States Government experience.  Apart from having no experience in diplomacy, Mr. Friedman has made a pattern of deeply concerning comments which disparaged fellow Americans, equating some of them as Nazi sympathizers and questioning their support for Israel.  While reasonable people may disagree with tactics or strategy in reaching a two-state solution, Mr. Friedman’s verbal assaults demonstrate a blind spot in how to constructively engage with those one may disagree and calls into question his ability to conduct diplomacy.  Mr. Friedman’s nomination is further complicated by the fact that in his opening statement, he made no mention of the two-state solution.  Additionally, reports that Mr. Friedman intends to live and work in Jerusalem run the risk of unnecessarily inflaming an already difficult situation and demonstrates the lack of tact required to resolve complex issues.

“I believe the United States must remain committed to a two-state solution that leads to a secure Israel for the Jewish people and the creation of a Palestinian state for the Palestinian people.  While it is the Senate’s choice whether to confirm Mr. Friedman, I believe our nation would be better served if President Trump nominated a proven diplomat, fully committed to Israel’s security as a democratic and Jewish state and a two-state solution.” 

Smith Statement on President Trump’s Revised Executive Order Restricting Refugees and Visas

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in response to President Trump’s revised executive order released today:

March 6, 2017

“President Trump's latest executive order on refugees and visa restrictions is reckless and runs contrary to America’s founding principles. The President’s second attempt at a travel ban —after his previous order was found to be unconstitutional by two courts—shows a continued disregard for American values and a remarkable willingness to threaten our national security.

“Our existing standards for those seeking refuge already require extremely thorough vetting of all refugees. Banning all refugees and specifically targeting Muslims goes against our values and strengthens extremist groups like ISIS by making America appear anti-Muslim. This malicious executive order will help recruit more terrorists and encourage extremists to attack America, damaging our relationships around the world and making America less safe.” 

Although the facts are still coming in, the recent revelations surrounding Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his alleged contacts with Russian officials reinforce the legitimate need for a special prosecutor.  There needs to be clarity on what and who the Trump Administration officials spoke to within the Russian government and the topic of those conversations. The President also needs to be transparent with the American people about his personal and business dealings with Russia which is why he should release his tax returns as every other President has done.  I agree with Minority Leader Pelosi’s call for the Attorney General’s resignation.  It is clear that the Attorney General is unfit to serve as the head of the Justice Department, nor is he in a position to oversee the widely substantiated evidence of Russia’s interference in our democratic process. 

Washington Members Call for Information from Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation on Disturbing Threats Targeting Jewish Community Centers

Washington, D.C. - Today, Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09), joined by Reps. Rick Larsen (WA-02), Dave Reichert (WA-08), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Denny Heck (WA-10), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Dan Newhouse (WA-04) and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), released the following statement in response to Monday evening’s bomb threat that lead to the evacuation of the Mercer Island Jewish Community Center in Mercer Island, Washington:

March 1, 2017

The Members of Congress joined in sending a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ), as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to share a deep concern with increasing number of alarming bomb threats targeting Jewish Community Centers in over thirty states, sowing fear and anxiety in our communities. The letter requests that in the wake of these threats, as well as the desecration of Jewish cemeteries, the DOJ and FBI must tirelessly investigate these matters, and prosecute all offenders to the fullest extent possible.

“A clear message must be sent that hatred and bigotry have no place in America, and they will not be tolerated,” the members of Congress wrote. “We stand with the Jewish Community both here in Washington state and across the country following a disturbing number of threats against Jewish community centers in recent months. Our community will continue to remain one that values diversity, and promotes respect for people of all races and religions.”

The Members look forward to continued, regular dialogue with both the DOJ and FBI to ensure that they can continue to keep their constituents informed.

Read the full letter HERE, text below. 

Dear Attorney General Sessions and Director Comey,

We write to you regarding the increasing number of alarming bomb threats targeting Jewish Community Centers in over 30 states, sowing fear and anxiety in our communities. These malicious, deliberate, and clearly coordinated attacks have singled out Jewish schools and gathering places, endangering the lives of children, and we seek to partner with you in helping to combat this rash of hateful, criminal acts. While we understand that your investigation is ongoing, we are formally requesting to be briefed on the efforts of the Department of Justice (DOJ), as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to resolve and address this crisis.  We encourage both agencies to employ all legal avenues and resources at your disposal to stop these crimes. 

The safety and well-being of Americans is of the upmost importance, and with more than 100 threats having been received by the writing of this letter, we are extremely concerned that this represents an increase in anti-Semitic activity across the country. Anti-Semitic attacks occupy the largest percentage of religiously rooted hate crime, and they have been increasing in number over the last several years. The Pacific Northwest in particular has been witness to horrific attacks against the Jewish Community, including the July 2006 shooting at the Seattle Jewish Federation, resulting in the tragic death of one individual.

In the wake of these threats, as well as the desecration of Jewish cemeteries, we ask that the DOJ and FBI tirelessly investigate these matters, and prosecute all offenders to the fullest extent possible. A clear message must be sent that hatred and bigotry have no place in America, and they will not be tolerated. We greatly appreciate the hard work and dedication put forward by the agents, investigators, and prosecutors in your organizations. We look forward to continued, regular dialogue with you to ensure that we can continue to keep our constituents informed.

 

Sincerely,