Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash) issued the following statement today after the House passed H.R. 2486, the NO BAN Act, and H.R. 2486, the Access to Counsel Act:

“The United States should be a place that welcomes and embraces people of all religions and nationalities. One of President Trump’s first acts in office was the Muslim travel ban, and at every turn, he has pushed similar bigoted immigration policies. By passing the NO BAN Act and the Access to Counsel Act, the House is putting forward a different vision for America, one that better reflects America’s values and where we do not shut our doors for xenophobic reasons.

“The NO BAN Act would repeal the multiple versions of the Muslim ban put forward by President Trump and establish guardrails to prevent future attempts at discrimination in our immigration system. I have met and heard from countless constituents who have been forced to live apart from their loved ones because of the Muslim ban. This is unacceptable and the NO BAN Act makes clear that we do not stand for this needless and cruel policy.

“Many individuals entering the U.S. are held by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for secondary inspection for hours and often with no ability to contact loved ones or lawyers. We saw this in the wake of President Trump’s Muslim ban when countless individuals were detained at airports across the country, including Sea-Tac. Recently at the beginning of this year, CBP unnecessarily detained hundreds of Iranian Americans at the Canadian border in Washington with no access to counsel and little transparency on why they were being detained. The Access to Counsel Act seeks to ensure that individuals entering the U.S. who are subjected to secondary inspection can rightfully access and communicate with legal counsel.

“The two bills passed today address policies that have caused unnecessary suffering which I have heard about from constituents for years. We must continue to reject these bigoted policies and work towards comprehensive immigration reform that is fair and just.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement after the House passed the Great American Outdoors Act:

“The Great American Outdoors Act is one of the most significant investments in environmental conservation in a generation. The bill provides permanent, full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a vital program for Washington state and the most successful conservation program to conserve public lands, increase access to green spaces for underserved and low-income communities, and preserve natural habitats.

“The bill also creates the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund to help address the backlog of desperately needed repairs of trails, buildings, and other public infrastructure within the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Indian Education.

“As the impacts of climate change increasingly harm communities around the country, this bill is an enormously important investment in our children, our environment, and our quality of life that will help protect the great outdoors for generations to come.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, issued 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:

“Following months of bipartisan collaboration, the House passed the NDAA today with key provisions to support our service members and their families, honor the values of our country, and advance America’s leadership. This bill takes serious steps to address two crises our country is currently grappling with: the COVID-19 pandemic and systematic racism.

“I worked closely with House Armed Services Committee Vice Chair Anthony Brown (D-MD), the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus to take bold steps to promote diversity and inclusion and help address systemic racism in our military institutions. The bill requires the Department of Defense to change the names of all military bases named for individuals who served in the Confederacy and prohibits the public display of the Confederate flag on Department of Defense installations. The bill also establishes a Chief Diversity Officer within the DoD and each of the services, establishes a Military Diversity Leadership Commission, and requires a strategy to increase diversity within the DoD to be representative of the U.S. population.

“This year’s bill also takes important steps to ensure that any domestic deployment of federal law enforcement officers or active-duty troops is transparent by adding guardrails to any future use of the Insurrection Act. Thanks to House Democrats, the NDAA also requires federal law enforcement officers to clearly display their name and agency on their uniforms so no administration can abuse its power to undermine civil rights, peaceful protests, and sow fear and discord across the country.

“The FY21 NDAA limits the President’s ability to transfer military construction funding under his emergency authority, thus preventing President Trump from raiding military construction projects to pay for his vanity wall on the Southern border.

“The NDAA strengthens our nation’s ability to prepare for and respond to pandemics by establishing a $1 billion Pandemic Preparedness and Resilience National Security Fund. The bill takes a comprehensive approach with investments in research and development, biological threat detection and reduction, and supply chain resiliency. In addition, the bill helps ensure a coordinated, government-wide approach to pandemics by re-establishing a lead for pandemic response within the Administration and creating an Interagency Review Council to implement the Global Health Security Agenda.

“For years, the NDAA has taken important steps to combat climate change and protect the environment. This bill includes some of the strongest provisions we have ever had when it comes to promoting public lands, combating climate change, and protecting the health of our communities from contamination associated with PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ around military installations. The bill designates millions of acres of public lands as wilderness or potential wilderness areas, preserving and protecting these public lands to improve biodiversity, safeguard water quality, and protect wildlife habitat. This includes legislation from Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-WA) to protect roughly 131,000 acres of public lands and add over 450 miles to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System on Washington's Olympic Peninsula.

“I fought for provisions in this bill to ensure U.S. foreign policy better reflects our values. The NDAA continues my work with Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) and our colleagues on the Congressional Progressive Caucus to put an end to the genocide in Yemen. This year we successfully included an amendment to prohibit the use of DoD funds to provide logistical support for air strikes to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and prohibit DoD personnel from participating in hostilities against the Houthis without authorization from Congress.

“The bill takes a strong stance against new live nuclear testing by prohibiting any funds for such use in FY 2021. Additionally, the bill does not contain restrictions on transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the United States, which have historically been included in the NDAA.

“This year’s NDAA puts the Department of Defense civilian and military workforce front and center. As a longtime proponent of labor unions, I am especially pleased that we were successful in prohibiting the DoD from excluding any civilian employees from their collective bargaining rights. The bill also establishes pay equity for civilian employees to ensure these workers are paid fairer wages. For our service members, the bill once again includes a 3 percent military pay raise. Additionally, the bill updates the minimum health and safety standards for all military base housing and implements additional provisions ensuring accountability and transparency from private housing companies.

“This is a strong bipartisan bill that the House was able to craft, which would not have been possible without the leadership and dedication of my colleagues. This year’s bill honors America’s values by encouraging diversity and inclusion in the military, taking steps to address systemic racism in our military institutions, and prioritizing a comprehensive approach to strengthen our national security.”

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

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, today issued the following statement after the Trump Administration continued to use violent tactics against protestors in Portland, Oregon throughout the weekend.

“Our nation is at a crossroads, and as Americans across the country exercise their First Amendment rights, the Trump Administration has repeatedly deployed federal law enforcement officials to try to silence them. Americans are watching the latest deeply disturbing use of federal law enforcement in Portland, Oregon.

“We find it particularly troubling that in Portland, many of these federal officers have apparently been patrolling the streets in unmarked vehicles and arresting protestors off the street – in some cases without probable cause and without reading their Miranda rights – all while donning what appears to be military uniforms.

“These alarming actions beg a number of serious questions. Was it the intent of the Trump Administration to make it seem as though the U.S. military is being deployed to control a U.S. city? Are they completely ignorant about the optics of the situation?

“We’ve been down this road before. The Trump Administration continues to weaponize federal law enforcement for its own agenda. Like we saw in Lafayette Park, rather than supporting and protecting the American people, we are witnessing the oppression of peaceful protestors by our own government.

“Not only do their action undermine civil rights and sow fear and discord across the country, but in this case, they sully the reputation of members of our Armed Forces who were not involved.

“This is simply unacceptable, and it must stop. We need answers and accountability for the actions by federal law enforcement in Portland, and we need to continue to find ways to rein in the Trump Administration’s growing militarization and misuse of federal law enforcement against the American people.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement on the passing of Congressman John Lewis:

“America mourns the loss of Congressman John Lewis, a civil rights icon whose moral compass and courage have not wavered, from Selma to the halls of Congress.

“As America reaches another pivotal moment in the fight for equality, there is no better legacy for us to follow than John’s. We will continue to work toward his mission for equality for all, honoring and learning from his devotion to justice for years to come.

“This a grave loss not just for Congress but for all Americans. It was an honor to serve with John Lewis. His service and sacrifice for this nation is an inspiration for us all, and I extend my deepest condolences to his family.”

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