Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement about the redacted release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation report.

“I cannot underscore how disappointed I am with Attorney General William Barr’s continued unresponsiveness to congressional oversight committees, with relevant jurisdiction, regarding access to the unredacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Congress has made several requests for the unredacted report, accompanied by all the underlying and related evidence and materials produced during the investigation. The unredacted report is necessary for Congress to carry out its role of oversight. In addition, the decision to release the redacted report to Congress after Trump’s personal legal team, clearly shows where Barr stands on accountability and transparency.

“In his summary, Barr contends that Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election “did not have the cooperation of President Trump or the Trump campaign.” This stance echoes Barr’s public memo to the DOJ in June 2018, which stated that “Mueller’s obstruction theory is fatally misconceived.” Barr came to the latter conclusion before he had access to all the relevant facts, and it appears that access to the investigation did not change his predetermined conclusion. He doesn’t dispute, however, the well documented threat from the government of the Russian Federation in its use of influence operations to undermine U.S. national security interests and particularly our democratic system of government.

“A lack of a thorough analysis of all facets of Russia’s multi-pronged operation from the investigation’s supporting documents, limits Congressional ability to make relevant policy and resource decisions related to deterrence, national security policy, election security and hardening our election infrastructure, strengthening our country’s cybersecurity, improving our country’s intelligence and counterintelligence posture, and helping our allies abroad to combat similar Russian behavior in their own countries.

“The Mueller report also states that key officials associated with the Trump campaign “materially impaired” the Special Counsel’s investigation and created information gaps that could possibly shed additional light (or cast a new light) on events described in the report, if previously unavailable information was made available.

“There is no more important task than safeguarding our country’s democratic process. Congress has a duty to make informed legislative, oversight, and authorization and appropriations decisions to safeguard the country. To do that, we need unfettered access to the all the information contained in Special Counsel Mueller’s report. Our national security, and the American way of life depend on it.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Adam Smith voted to pass H.R. 1585, a bipartisan, long-term Violence Against Women Act reauthorization:   

“I am honored to join in voting to strengthen and support lifesaving protections for women with the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Passage of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 not only reinstates the critical funding that expired in September 2018, it also adds additional protections for women by strengthening gun laws, expanding protections for Native American women, and providing additional resources for victims of sexual assault on college campuses. With today’s vote, Congress is prioritizing protections and resources for victims of sexual assault, domestic abuse, and stalking – responding to our country’s crisis of domestic violence with action.”

Chairman Smith Reintroduces Legislation to End Sequestration 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has reintroduced legislation to end sequestration and its damage to our economy:

“Today, I am reintroducing the Relief from Sequestration Act of 2019 to repeal the automatic cuts in both discretionary and mandatory spending triggered by the 2011 Budget Control Act’s sequestration.  These cuts have impacted our economy, affected our government, and harmed our nation. 

“At the same time, this bill does not deny the fact that we need a comprehensive, long-term deficit reduction deal.  We do.  We have a deficit problem that must be addressed and a broader revenue and spending plan is fundamental if we are to tackle the debt and deficit.

“Rather, the Relief from Sequestration Act recognizes that critical national priorities and the economy should no longer be held hostage by the threat of sequestration while Congress debates a comprehensive budget fix.  The Budget Control Act’s automatic and indiscriminate cuts are not a long-term solution. They will only damage our economy and undermine national security in the process.

“Because Congress recognizes the harm that broad and indiscriminate cuts inflict on our economy, government programs, and the military, it has previously delayed the Budget Control Act’s $1.2 trillion in cuts from fully taking effect. As sequestration has proven, haphazard cuts are not effective in reducing the debt. Any sustainable fiscal plan should include a thoughtful budgeting approach that incorporates targeted reductions and increases in revenue.”

Background:

In 2011, the Budget Control Act introduced the mechanism of sequestration.  Under sequestration, automatic and indiscriminate cuts were to be applied through fiscal year 2021. These cuts were designed to decimate discretionary spending with the goal of forcing Congress to enact a long-term deficit reduction plan. They were never meant to take effect. In fact, the author of the 1987 law that first employed sequestration as an enforcement mechanism admitted that sequestration was never supposed to be triggered.

Unfortunately, when Congress failed to find a solution to reduce our deficit, this devastating mechanism took effect for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013.  Over the years, Congress has continuously delayed sequestration cuts by passing various bipartisan budget agreements, but the mere threat of sequestration has had unacceptable and serious economic implications disrupting regular order in Congress.  The solution must be to permanently end this misguided and ineffective policy.

The Relief from Sequestration Act of 2019 would end the remaining years of harmful potential cuts to discretionary programs triggered by this mechanism by eliminating them for FY 2020 and FY 2021.

 

 

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C.— Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in response to House passage of S.J. Res 7

“Passage of this resolution makes clear to the Trump Administration that the United States should not be providing support for the Saudi-led coalition in the conflict in Yemen. Over four years into the civil war, the Yemeni people continue to face the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The situation remains on extremely fragile ground – failed progress in the peace process and any escalation in violence risks worsening the food insecurity, cholera outbreak, and displacement already plaguing the country.  The United States must be squarely focused on using its leverage to reinforce the UN Special Envoy’s efforts towards a peaceful resolution and to take steps to alleviate the devastating effects of this conflict on the Yemeni people. Any U.S. involvement in Yemen must be debated transparently, and Congress will continue to assert its oversight role of the administration on Yemen.”

Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman (D-WA) released the following statement about DoD’s intent to reprogramming funding to fund building a wall on the southwest border and has issued a letter denying the request.

 “Congress grants the Department of Defense the ability to move a limited amount of appropriated funds through the reprogramming process in order to address emergent, higher-priority needs, subject to specific statutory limitations. Congress has trusted the Department with this tool to give them additional flexibility to manage day-to-day operations. DoD’s recent notification of its intent to use that process to reprogram $1 billion without Congressional approval is a violation of that trust.  

“DoD is attempting to circumvent Congress and the American people’s opposition to using taxpayer money for the construction of an unnecessary wall, and the military is paying the cost. Marine Corps leadership recently signaled that a lack of fiscal support from the Department has required them to cancel or significantly reduce participation in three training exercises, as well as reduce maintenance expenditures for combat equipment, and that without necessary relief the Marine Corps will have to cancel five more training exercises, reduce and delay additional maintenance, and reduce or cancel Reserve mobilization.

“Meanwhile, the Army has made an intentional decision to not pursue its requested authorized end strength for Fiscal Year 2019.  This decision was made after Congress, in good faith, approved and funded the Department’s request based on discussion with the Army experts.  The administration has decided to use the funds available from this decision to fund portions of the border wall. 

“This needs to stop.  Based on the unfunded requests received for the Fiscal Year 2020 budget and the issues raised by the Marine Corps, there are obviously more pressing issues with readiness and modernization that these funds could - and more importantly should - go to. Instead of focusing on readiness, hurricane recovery, and other genuine issues, the administration continues to spend billions of dollars on an imaginary crisis.  The priority needs to be on supporting our service men and women, and their families who defend our nation. In this, the administration continues to fail. There is no national emergency at the southern border. The Administration should stop using our servicemembers as a political tool and instead focus on building military capabilities and readiness and areas where we should focus our defense resources. Congress will act as necessary to defend its Constitutional prerogatives.”

The Committee’s formal response to the Department can be found here.