Press Releases

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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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.” 

“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.”