Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – This week, Congressman Adam Smith introduced the House Intern Pay Act, legislation to set aside funds so that interns in each congressional office can be paid.

“Paid internships help to provide equality of opportunity for all and ensure Congressional offices in Washington, D.C. and local district offices benefit from a strong diversity of ideas and backgrounds to best represent constituents,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “It is important to provide everyone in our community the opportunity to engage in our legislative process and civic service, regardless of their wealth.”

Every year, hundreds of students and recent graduates come to Capitol Hill seeking to learn about and serve in Congress. In the past, many young people have had to begin their careers in policy and public service in unpaid internship positions.  For many others, working and interning without pay is simply not possible.  Unpaid internships severely limit the opportunities available to those who cannot afford to work for free, but who want to learn and serve.     

The House Intern Pay Act would help alleviate this problem by allowing for the payment of a living wage to interns in each Members’, Delegates’, and Resident Commissioner’s congressional office in the House of Representatives.  Specifically, this bill authorizes amounts to fund a full-time, year-round internship position in each Member’s Capitol Hill or district congressional office at a rate of $15 per hour.

Congress must do its part to ensure that a person’s means is not a barrier to civic engagement and public service.

This legislation is cosponsored by the following Members of Congress: Don Beyer (VA-8), Nydia Velázquez (NY-7), Madeleine Bordallo (Guam), Mark Pocan (WI-2), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Suzanne Bonamci (OR-1), Judy Chu (CA-27), Ted W. Lieu (CA-33), Denny Heck (WA-10), Betty McCollum (MN-4), Pramila Jayapal (WA-7).

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), and Representative Adam Smith (WA-9) sent a letter to Anne White, Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management at the Department of Energy, requesting additional public hearings in the Pacific Northwest on the department’s proposal for completing cleanup and closing the C Tank Farm at Hanford. To date, the Department has only held one public meeting on the issue, in Richland, Washington.

In the letter the lawmakers wrote, “Public hearings are an important avenue for DOE to both explain the Draft WIR Evaluation and to receive comment from states, tribal nations, stakeholder groups, and the public.”

“While we understand the Draft WIR Evaluation is the natural next step from DOE’s perspective, we also recognize this is a complex decision that involves managing waste differently, reclassifying waste, and has the potential to set precedent for the 17 other tank farms at Hanford. A decision of this magnitude should be made in an open and transparent manner with multiple avenues for public engagement,” said the lawmakers. “Therefore, we join the Washington State Department of Ecology and stakeholders groups in calling on DOE to hold additional public hearings in the Pacific Northwest to ensure the views of Washingtonians are heard.”

 

The full letter can be found HERE and below.

The Honorable Anne M. White

Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management

U.S. Department of Energy

1000 Independence Avenue, S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20585

 

Dear Assistant Secretary White:

We write to request that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) consider holding additional public hearings in the Pacific Northwest regarding the “Draft Waste Incidental to Reprocessing Evaluation for Closure of Waste Management Area C at the Hanford Site, Washington” (Draft WIR Evaluation). Public hearings are an important avenue for DOE to both explain the Draft WIR Evaluation and to receive comment from states, tribal nations, stakeholder groups, and the public.

We appreciate that DOE has extended the original 96-day comment period by an additional 60 days, providing more time for the public to review, evaluate, and provide input on the Draft WIR Evaluation. However, to date, DOE has only held one public meeting on the Draft WIR Evaluation in Richland, Washington. We have heard from stakeholders expressing the importance of holding additional public hearings at times and locations that allow for full participation.

The Waste Management Area C, also known as the C Tank Farm, consists of 16 single-shell tanks. We commend DOE and the Hanford workforce for retrieving more than 1.7 million gallons of waste from these tanks and transferring it into double-shell tanks. While we understand the Draft WIR Evaluation is the natural next step from DOE’s perspective, we also recognize this is a complex decision that involves managing waste differently, reclassifying waste, and has the potential to set precedent for the 17 other tank farms at Hanford. A decision of this magnitude should be made in an open and transparent manner with multiple avenues for public engagement. Therefore, we join the Washington State Department of Ecology and stakeholders groups in calling on DOE to hold additional public hearings in the Pacific Northwest to ensure the views of Washingtonians are heard.

Thank you for consideration of our request.

 

Sincerely,

Washington D.C.Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in honor of Labor Day:

“On Labor Day, we honor the American worker and the labor movement that is an integral engine of our economy and our social fabric. As the son of a union baggage handler at SeaTac Airport, I know firsthand how labor unions have helped generations of America’s working families thrive. At a time when labor unions are under direct attack, we must show America’s workers the same devotion they have shown to our society. 

“The contributions of the labor movement have been fundamental in ensuring American workers receive their well-deserved rights. We must continue to fight for jobs that pay a living wage, provide fair workplace conditions, and build a healthcare system that covers those in need. It is vital that we resume investing in the American worker and ensure their success in an increasingly competitive marketplace.”

Washington, DC - House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following statement in response to the recently released study, commissioned by Governor Ricardo Rosselló of Puerto Rico, estimating the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico at 2,975:

“President Trump failed the American people in his response to Hurricane Maria, and it took Congressional pressure to force him to increase his commitment to military disaster relief for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. I cannot explain why he was so unwilling to do the right thing, and when he did, it turned out to be too little, too late. There are studies that show the death toll was in the thousands and not in the hundreds. This is not a situation where you can cover up the true impact on American citizens. The Trump Administration must be held accountable for their reckless mismanagement and failure to respond swiftly and robustly to Americans in need. It is unacceptable the way this tragedy took place.”

“President Trump continues to push an unrelenting assault on critical protections for our environment. From rolling back fuel mileage standards, undermining clean air and clean water protections, gutting the Endangered Species Act, and opening up our national monuments to development and mining, the President is actively working to endanger our environment.  Most troubling of all, he is pushing us towards being more reliant on fossil fuels. It is absolutely clear that carbon-based emissions are heating up earth and putting us on a path that will destroy our planet. We need to get off our dependency on carbon, not promote it.

“By gutting the Clean Power Plan, getting rid of federal regulations on carbon emissions, step by step the President is pushing us in the wrong direction. We are already at the point where we have waited way too long to address the impact of climate change and carbon-based fuels. For the President to roll back the progress we have made is disastrous and must be confronted.

“One area we continue to make progress is with the Department of Defense. As Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I have worked with my colleagues to declare that climate change is a national security threat. We have directed funding to pursue clean and alternative energy sources and end our reliance as a nation on fossil fuels. I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that the Department of Defense is planning for and mitigating against the impact of climate change and continues to invest in clean sources of energy to reduce our dependency on fossil fuel. 

“President Trump and Republicans in Congress have chosen to ignore climate change’s very real and negative impacts, and we must fight to stop them. We cannot let actions like today’s proposed rule reverse the critical progress that has been made.”