Press Releases

Smith Statement on the Defense Department’s New Policy on Transgender Servicemembers

Washington, DC- Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA), the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement regarding the Defense Department’s newly announced policy on transgender servicemembers:

June 30, 2016

“This policy is an important step toward ensuring that our military is strong and inclusive. It will protect the rights of transgender individuals who already serve in the U.S. armed forces, with minimal impact on the operations of the Department of Defense.

“These changes will involve a very small number of individuals serving in the armed forces, on the order of 0.1 percent of the approximate total of two million active and reserve members in the U.S military. The evidence indicates that modernizing our policy in this way will not meaningfully reduce readiness. In fact, according to research by the RAND Corporation and retired flag officers, it should enhance readiness by enabling commanders to better provide for the needs of the men and women they lead. Similar policies have already been adopted by U.S. allies such as Israel, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

“By providing clarity for the service branches and removing an obsolete policy that has made it more difficult for our men and women in uniform to do their jobs, this policy will strengthen, not reduce, the military’s ability to defend the United States.”

In June 2016, Congressman Smith wrote a letter to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter in support of the decision to repeal the Department of Defense’s (DOD) outdated policy prohibiting transgender individuals from openly serving in the military and urged the expeditious implementation of this policy change. Ending the ban on ?transgender individuals serving in our military will allow the armed forces to better realize the full potential of all service members and make our nation safer and stronger. Read the full letter here: https://goo.gl/KnhJRL

WASHINGTON— Today, the Democratic Members of the Select Committee on Benghazi issued a 339-page report entitled, Honoring Courage, Improving Security, and Fighting the Political Exploitation of a Tragedy.  Democrats also released all of the unclassified interview transcripts in their possession so the American people can read them for themselves.

“Decades in the future, historians will look back on this investigation as a case study in how not to conduct a credible investigation,” the Members wrote.  “They will showcase the proliferation of Republican abuses as a chief example of what happens when politicians are allowed to use unlimited taxpayer dollars—and the formidable power of Congress—to attack their political foes.”

The Democratic report’s overarching conclusion is that the evidence obtained by the Select Committee confirms the core findings already issued by many previous investigations into the attacks in Benghazi.  Although the Select Committee obtained additional details that provide context and granularity, these details do not fundamentally alter the previous conclusions.

The report finds: 

  • U.S. personnel in Benghazi and Tripoli conducted themselves with extraordinary courage and heroism and at grave personal risk to defend and rescue their fellow Americans.
  • The Defense Department could not have done anything differently on the night of the attacks that would have saved the lives of the four brave Americans killed in Benghazi, and although the military’s global posture prevented it from responding more quickly that night, improvements were made years ago.
  • The State Department’s security measures in Benghazi were woefully inadequate as a result of decisions made by officials in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, but Secretary Clinton never personally denied any requests for additional security in Benghazi.
  • The Intelligence Community’s assessments evolved after the attacks as more information became available, but they were not influenced by political considerations.
  • Administration officials did not make intentionally misleading statements about the attacks, but instead relied on information they were provided at the time under fast-moving circumstances.

The Democratic report also documents the grave abuses Republicans engaged in during this investigation—from A to Z.  Republicans excluded Democrats from interviews, concealed exculpatory evidence, withheld interview transcripts, leaked inaccurate information, issued unilateral subpoenas, sent armed Marshals to the home of a cooperative witness, and even conducted political fundraising by exploiting the deaths of four Americans.

“In our opinion,” the Members wrote, “Chairman Gowdy has been conducting this investigation like an overzealous prosecutor desperately trying to land a front-page conviction rather than a neutral judge of facts seeking to improve the security of our diplomatic corps.”

“We are issuing our own report today because, after spending more than two years and $7 million in taxpayer funds in one of the longest and most partisan congressional investigations in history, it is long past time for the Select Committee to conclude its work,” they wrote.  “Despite our repeated requests over the last several months, Republicans have refused to provide us with a draft of their report—or even a basic outline—making it impossible for us to provide input and obvious that we are being shut out of the process until the last possible moment.”

The Democratic report makes 12 recommendations.  Because the fundamental goal of the Democratic Members has always been to improve the security of our diplomatic corps and Americans serving our country overseas, the report makes nine recommendations to improve security measures, security training, risk management processes, and support for survivors and their families.  The report also makes three recommendations for Congress to consider before establishing any future select committees.     

Click below to read each section:

 

The Democratic Members of the Select Committee are Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings, Rep. Adam Smith, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Linda Sanchez, and Rep. Tammy Duckworth.

 

 

Congressman Smith and Acting Under Secretary Szubin Discuss the Importance of Remittances

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith joined Acting Under Secretary Szubin of the Treasury Department in Seattle today for a conversation with local stakeholders, community leaders, organizations, and money transfer operators to discuss the important role that remittances play for Somalia and the Philippines and efforts to facilitate remittances through legitimate and transparent channels.

June 27, 2016

In recognition of these important issues, Congressman Smith cosponsored the Money Remittances Improvement Act of 2014 which was signed into law by the President on August 8, 2014, and has met with numerous government officials in attempts to find ways to continue U.S. remittances to Somalia.  Congressman Smith continues to call for the U.S. government to take steps to cooperate with and support Somalia and its people whenever possible.  Congressman Smith remains ready to help in any way he can.            

Acting Under Secretary Szubin was nominated by the White House to serve as Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence on April 20, 2015.  This position leads the Treasury Department’s policy, enforcement, regulatory, and intelligence functions aimed at identifying and disrupting the lines of financial support to international terrorist organizations, proliferators of weapons of mass destruction, narcotics traffickers, and other actors posing a threat to our national security or foreign policy.  The Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence is also responsible for overseeing the Department’s efforts to combat money laundering and financial crimes.

“Today’s community conversation and engagement provided a powerful platform to reiterate our earlier calls for the processing of remittances. As a vital component of the Somali economy, remittances help many families pay for every day necessities such as food, medicine, education, as well as help expand economic and business opportunities in Somalia,” said Congressman Smith. “We need to make it easier for residents of the 9th District and Somali-Americans everywhere to send money back to their families in Somalia. Having Acting U/S Szubin here in Seattle shows the Treasury Department’s commitment to our efforts.”

“Treasury is working to ensure that remittance flows are transparent, safe, and strong, and recognizes the importance of remittances from the United States reaching loved ones abroad,” said Adam J. Szubin, Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. “Challenges remain, but we are encouraged by the continued robust flows of remittances and by the progress that's being made in increasing transparency and oversight. I am further encouraged by the thoughtful dialogue that I have had with Congressman Adam Smith, his constituents, money transmitters, and local banks on this important issue. We look forward to working with Congressman Smith and other members of Congress in the weeks and months ahead.”

Congressman Smith and Acting Under Secretary Szubin will continue to support efforts to build a strong Somalia, with a sustainable and well-regulated and supervised financial system in Somalia, and support its people whenever possible. 

June 27, 2016 Community Meetings:

Who:

  1. Congressman Adam Smith, Washington’s 9th Congressional District
  2. Adam J. Szubin, Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence

Where:

NewHolly Gathering Hall

7054 32nd Ave South

Seattle WA 98118

Schedule of Events:

10:15 – 10:45 am              Banking Roundtable

11:00 – 12:00 pm              Panel discussion and community discussion 

 

Smith Statement on Supreme Court Decision in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling today that upheld the constitutional right of women to make their own reproductive decisions:

June 27, 2016

“Today the Supreme Court struck down two provisions of a dangerous anti-abortion law in Texas by a vote of 5 to 3. In the case of Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, a group of Texas abortion clinics and three doctors argued that a Texas state law requiring health providers have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and perform abortions in ambulatory surgical centers was overly burdensome. I am extremely pleased to see the Supreme Court rule in favor of the plaintiffs, recognizing that unnecessary requirements on surgical centers poses an undue burden on women’s constitutional right to seek an abortion. I stand with all women and will continue to support policies that allow for women to make their own healthcare decisions and have access to critical reproductive healthcare services.” 

Washington D.C.Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s deadlocked decision in United States v. Texas:

“I am deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s ruling today resulting in a deadlock decision on the President’s Executive Actions on Immigration. Millions of U.S. citizens with undocumented parents and DREAMers will now face uncertainty in their future and may see their families torn apart. Failure on the part of Republican leadership is what forced the President to act. I call on Congress to take action and pass a permanent comprehensive immigration bill and fix our broken system. We cannot afford to wait any longer to reform our immigration system and bring relief to millions of children and families.”