Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after President Trump vetoed the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, which passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 335-78-1 and in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 84-13.

“By choosing to veto the NDAA, President Trump has made it clear that does not care about the needs of our military personnel and their families. If the FY21 NDAA does not become law, more than 100,000 federal employees will be deprived of the paid parental leave benefits they deserve, necessary military construction projects will not move forward on schedule, and our service members who are in harm’s way defending our country’s principles will not have access to the hazard pay they are owed.  

“The FY21 NDAA passed with overwhelming, veto-proof support in both the House and Senate, and I remain confident that Congress will override this harmful veto. While the President may not care about our service members and their families, Congress still places an immense value on their service and sacrifice.” 


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement on the 10th anniversary of the end of the military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

“Ten years ago, the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ allowed tens of thousands of LBGTQ service members to serve openly for the first time. Our men and women in uniform are the backbone of our national security – all Americans owe them, and their families, a debt of gratitude for their service and sacrifice. The repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ affirmed that we, as a nation, respect and honor the service of these patriotic men and women, no matter who they love.

“The last decade has shown us that the diversity of our military is a point of strength and has proven when service members serve openly, our national security benefits. Despite the progress we have made these last ten years, working to create a more diverse and inclusive military, there is still much to be done. Because of the Trump Administration’s hateful policies, thousands of transgender service members cannot serve openly. These soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines deserve the same honor and respect as their cisgender peers, for their service and sacrifice is no different. Thankfully, President-elect Biden has made it clear he intends to reverse the Trump-era ‘trans ban’ immediately so that these patriots can continue to serve their nation as their authentic selves.

“Today is a day to reflect on our progress and reaffirm our commitment to LGBTQ Americans. Our next task must be enactment of the Equality Act, so that the LGBTQ community is protected from discrimination and prejudice.”


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the COVID-19 relief bill:

“Today the House came to an agreement and passed a COVID-19 relief package that will be a public health and economic lifeline to families and businesses that have been reeling due to the pandemic. However, this is nowhere near the amount of support that Americans need right now. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump have blocked a more robust relief package for seven months as thousands of Americans die every day from COVID-19. We passed this bill to get immediate relief to the people that desperately need it, but we must do more to provide support to struggling families and businesses.

“First and foremost, this package includes significant resources to help combat the pandemic. It includes critical funding for accelerating vaccine distribution that will help make the vaccine free and widely accessible and communicate to the public about the importance of the vaccine. The package also includes funding for local public health departments who are on the frontlines of COVID-19 response and on the brink of cutting staff and services.

“This bill also adds additional economic support for families that are struggling to pay rent, unable to put food on the table, or who are unemployed. The bill makes a significant investment in additional funds for rental and housing assistance while also extending the eviction moratorium through the end of January 2021. It provides direct cash payments of $600, and we successfully fought to expand eligibility to mixed status families who were kept out of direct payments under the CARES Act. The pandemic and economic downturn have caused millions of people to become unemployed – this bill gives an additional $300 per week to each recipient and extends the enhanced pandemic unemployment programs through March 31, 2021.

“Food insecurity has grown significantly during the pandemic and this bill includes additional funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other food programs for struggling families. The agreement also provides funding for schools and colleges to mitigate virus transmission, and funding for child care assistance to help parents get back to work and keep child care providers open. The package also includes the largest expansion of Pell Grant recipients in over a decade, ensuring more than 1.5 million students will now receive the maximum benefit.

“Over the course of the pandemic, I have met with countless small businesses in dire need of help. This package adds additional funding to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), improves the requirements to make it more accessible for small businesses, and allows some small businesses that are still struggling to get a second round of PPP loans to help retain workers and allow their businesses to survive.

“Every American needs to understand that Mitch McConnell, Congressional Republicans, and President Trump fought against us every step of the way as we worked to provide as much relief as possible. The support provided in this package is necessary, but insufficient. I look forward to working with the incoming Biden-Harris Administration in the new Congress to build on this package.”


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement after the House passed H.R. 6395, the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 with strong bipartisan support:

“Today the House sent a strong, bipartisan message to the American people: our service members and our national security are more important than politics. By passing the FY21 NDAA conference report with a veto-proof majority, the House has proven to be capable of legislating and reaching compromise that results in good policy outcomes.

“I was proud to work closely with Vice Chair Anthony Brown, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus to take bold steps to promote diversity and inclusion and help address systemic racism in our military institutions. Provisions in the bill will remove all names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia across the military that honor or commemorate the Confederacy and will create a Chief Diversity Officer within the Department of Defense to ensure our military reflects our country’s diversity. The bill adds $20 million in funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and directs the Secretary to partner with minority institutions of higher education and public and private sector organizations to diversify and strengthen the national security workforce.

“The FY21 NDAA also takes important steps to promote the wellbeing of servicemembers and their families, veterans, and the entire federal workforce. It provides a long-sought after benefit for tens of thousands of Vietnam-era veterans who are struggling with health complications after being exposed to Agent Orange while serving their country. The bill will permit most federal employees to carry over an additional 25% of annual leave into 2021 in recognition of their dedicated service during the pandemic. To help protect civilian employees across the federal government from discrimination, the bill includes the Elijah Cummings Federal Employee Antidiscrimination Act that would establish independent Equal Employment Opportunity Programs at each federal agency to independently address complaints of discrimination and retaliation. This year’s bill also extends paid parental leave to approximately 100,000 federal civilians inadvertently excluded from last year’s legislation.

“For years, the NDAA has taken important steps to combat climate change and advance green energy initiatives. This bill includes strong provisions to ensure DoD is planning for and mitigating the effects of climate change and implementing energy and climate resiliency requirements in their military installation planning. The bill would also push the DoD to remain a leader in adopting renewable energy and advancing green energy measures through the expansion of hybrid and electric vehicles, microgrids, energy metering and on-site energy production at military facilities, and operational energy research.

“After months of hard work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of Congress, I am proud of our finished product. Given the strength of the bill, I am confident the conference report will receive similarly robust support in the Senate this week before heading to the President’s desk for signature. It is my hope that the President signs the FY21 NDAA into law given how important passage is for our service members and their families, however, I remain confident that Congress will exercise our authority to override a potential veto should he choose to put his ego first.”

A summary of the provisions in the FY21 NDAA is available here.


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement after a federal court ordered the Trump administration to restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to its original form in the Batalla Vidal v. Wolf case.

“The ruling is a major victory not just for immigrant youth and their families but for all Americans. By upholding this critical program, we are restoring the values that America should reflect and instilling hope for the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers and future DACA recipients who call America home. From the first attempt by the Trump administration to end DACA in 2017, immigrants have been subjected to the Trump administration’s xenophobic policies. This win was made possible by the tireless efforts of countless DACA recipients and advocates who made their voices heard while their livelihoods were under attack.

“The ruling reopens DACA to first-time applicants, restores work authorization and renewals to two years, and makes travel on advance parole more widely available to DACA recipients so they can feel safe and live without fear of being separated from their families and communities. While we celebrate this victory, I look forward to working with my colleagues and the new administration under President-elect Biden to sign into law permanent protections and a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients. This is a long overdue step in the fight for a more fair and just immigration system.”