Press Releases

Washington D.C.Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement today in opposition to the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, known as the Farm Bill. 

 

“This week, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, known as the Farm Bill.  This Farm Bill is a missed opportunity to put forward a bipartisan bill that addresses our food insecurity challenges and supports conservation, agriculture, and related programs that are vital to preserving the environment and strengthening our economy.

 

“The cuts and changes this Farm Bill makes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are drastic and harmful. People from every walk of life – children, veterans, seniors disabled, and hard-working families – rely on SNAP every day, including 930,000 people from across Washington state. The changes made to SNAP, such as implementing stricter work requirements and restricting the ability for states to extend SNAP benefits to low-income working families based on the high cost of utilities, housing, childcare, or medical care, will result in an estimated $23 billion cut to SNAP benefits, taking essential support away from 2 million Americans.

 

“Claims that this Farm Bill will get SNAP recipients back to work are misguided and fail to recognize the realities facing working families. SNAP already has strict work requirements, and roughly 80 percent of those benefiting from SNAP who are already required to work, do so in the year before or the year after being on SNAP. Furthermore, many individuals who rely on SNAP don’t have full-time or year-round work, especially in a diverse economy like Washington. The work requirements in this bill would place an immense burden on states, as the bill fails to provide adequate resources or time for states to comply with the bill’s timeline to institute the new work programs.  

 

“This untested and unfunded expansion of employment and training (E&T) programs would put successful E&T programs at risk, such as Washington’s Basic Food Education and Benefit (BFET). BFET has been remarkably effective in providing education and training to help individuals obtain employment. Washington is one of ten states currently participating in an expanded E&T pilot program. If Congress is serious about improving workforce training and getting more Americans back to work, we should continue to invest in these pilot programs to determine what works instead of creating a new massive bureaucracy to manage untested mandatory programs.  

“Republicans have also used this Farm Bill as an opportunity to once again undermine our environmental laws and diminish conservation programs. The bill would threaten our clean water by eliminating the Clean Water Act General Pesticide Permit Program, which provides much needed oversight of pesticides sprayed into our waterways. Instead of strengthening conservation programs, it makes an overall cut of $800 million to the Conservation Title. Lastly, this Farm Bill would attack environmental protections for public lands and forests vital to Washington, such as the inclusion of provisions exempting environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for over 45 activities on public lands nationwide.

 

“The bottom line is that if this bill were enacted, an estimated 25,000 households or 60,000 people in Washington state would lose their SNAP benefits. It’s appalling that just a few months after passing a corporate tax cut bill that costs Americans 1.5 trillion dollars, Republicans can justify taking essential nutrition support away from individuals and families that desperately need it.”

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Ted. S. Yoho (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, and Congressman  Adam Smith (D-WA)  released the following statements after a full committee mark up of their Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act (BUILD) - H.R. 5105.

“Passage of the BUILD Act out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee is a significant milestone towards helping to bring U.S. international development financing into the 21st century,” said Rep Adam Smith. “I worked closely with Chairman Royce and Subcommittee Chairman Yoho on an amendment to help focus the new institution on sustainable, broad-based development programs that support social and economic outcomes. I was very pleased to see several additional amendments pass which strengthened labor and environmental standards, as well as oversight and transparency in the new institution. This bill is an example of what bipartisan cooperation can accomplish, and I look forward to the next steps.”


“Today we have taken another important step forward in modernizing America’s development finance system,” said Rep. Ted Yoho. “The BUILD Act will make our nation more competitive on the global stage and the distribution of our foreign aid dollars more efficient. Thank you to Chairman Ed Royce, Ranking Member Eliot Engle, Congressman Adam Smith, and all my colleagues for their continued support of this bipartisan, bicameral bill. I look forward to having President Trump sign the BUILD Act into law eventually.”

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Washington, DC – Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed unanimously the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area Act (H.R. 1791). Bill authors, Representatives Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Adam Smith (D-WA) applauded this action.

“In Washington State, we know full well that the spectacular landscape of the Mountains to Sound Greenway is worthy of national recognition,” said Rep. Reichert. “This morning’s vote shows that my colleagues here in Congress understand that as well. I am proud to see this bill move forward, so the Greenway receives the official recognition it deserves. The Greenway benefits Washingtonians and visitors from around the world, which is why it is important to honor this beautiful land. I thank Chairman Bishop for his work on this bill, and look forward to its consideration by the full House.”

“I am pleased to see the House Natural Resources Committee voted unanimously to pass H.R. 1791, legislation I have co-sponsored with Congressman Reichert,” said Rep. Adam Smith. “The designation of Washington’s Mountains to Sound Greenway – over 1.5 million acres of land stretching from Seattle to Ellensburg – as a National Heritage Area will help preserve and promote the area’s scenery, resources and history for future generations.  I thank Congressman Reichert for his leadership and the passionate community members with the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust for their support of this important piece of legislation. I hope to see this legislation brought to the House floor for a vote in the near future.”

This legislation was first introduced by Representatives Reichert and Smith in the 113th Congress as H.R. 1785, the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area Act. In November of 2014, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed the bill, but the full House never considered it. In the same Congress, the Senate companion legislation passed out of Committee, but it did not receive consideration on the Senate floor.

After receiving feedback over the past four years, Reps. Reichert and Smith reintroduced an improved and strengthened bill in March of 2017. This new bill (H.R. 1791) includes important protections for individual rights, private property owners, and tribal communities. It has the support of over 6,000 individuals and groups from government agencies and officials, businesses, outdoor recreation groups, and conservation and heritage organizations, including the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and Outdoor Alliance.

“Our region is a model for the nation. We’ve built a booming economy, while simultaneously conserving the Pacific Northwest's iconic mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes. Designating the Mountains to Sound Greenway as a National Heritage Area celebrates this unique approach of economy and environment working in concert, not in conflict." said Jon Hoekstra, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust Executive Director. "We applaud Congressmen Reichert and Smith for their dedication to and leadership on this effort over the years and look forward to helping achieve this legacy accomplishment.”

Rep. Reichert and former Washington Senator Slade Gorton testified before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands last month on H.R. 1791. A bipartisan group of members from the King County Council attended the hearing in support of the legislation, including King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn, who also submitted a letter of support for the bill.

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Washington, D.C. – Today, House Armed Services Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following statement about President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran:
 
“This decision will make us less safe by allowing Iran to quickly acquire a nuclear weapon, separating us from our allies, and fueling instability in the region. The JCPOA has so far been successful in preventing Iran from advancing toward the acquisition of nuclear weapons. It did not cover issues such as ballistic missiles or Iranian support for terrorism, but President Trump has offered no alternative that would do a better job at securing America’s vital security interest in preventing a nuclear-armed Iran while avoiding the possibility of an unnecessary and potentially catastrophic clash. Without question, this decision runs the risk of far greater conflict and in the short term, at a minimum, far greater destabilization of the Middle East.”

Washington, DC – Today, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA), Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI), House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee Ranking Member Jackie Speier (D-CA), and Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee Ranking Member Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) sent a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis requesting additional details about the process by which the Department of Defense (DOD) developed the policy recommendations regarding transgender service members that were provided to President Trump in a memorandum dated February 22, 2018. The letter reads:

Dear Secretary Mattis:

We write today to ask for additional details about the recommendations you provided to the President in a Memorandum dated February 22, 2018, regarding military service by transgender individuals.  We were surprised and disappointed by the recommendations contained in that memorandum.  In our view, these recommendations contradict previous findings from the Department of Defense (DOD) and the professional medical community.  As the President has empowered you to implement appropriate policies governing service by transgender individuals, we feel it imperative that we explore the factual bases behind your recommendations.     

            Your letter to the President stated you created a Panel of Experts of senior uniformed and civilian Defense Department leaders and charged them to provide their best military advice without regard to any external factors.  Although you state that the panel received input from civilian medical professionals, the recommendations appear to us to be inconsistent with what we have heard from the civilian medical community.  Numerous recognized experts, former military officials and Surgeons General, and organizations representing medical professionals have released statements criticizing the Report’s recommendations and the underlying scientific basis for these recommendations.

Relying on recognized experts and gathering diverse opinions and perspectives is crucial to the development of an informed and sound policy. Given the discrepancies between the Report’s recommendations and assessments of transgender military service previously made by DOD, and given the concerns raised by outside medical professionals and former military leaders, we would like to better understand the process by which DOD developed the Report. Specifically, we would like to know:

  1. Who was on the Panel of Experts?
  2. Who did the Panel consult with?
  3. Did the Panel consult with the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, or American Medical Association or any other medical professionals with expertise in gender dysphoria?
  4. In your view, what are the substantial risks associated with the accessions and retention of transgender persons? Can you please provide any examples that since June 30, 2016 these issues have arisen within the military and describe how the DOD or services handled these situations?
  5. In your view, what are the specific issues that could undermine readiness, disrupt unit cohesion, and impose an unreasonable burden on the military? Can you please provide any examples that since June 30, 2016 these issues have arisen within the military and describe how the DOD or services handled these situations?
  6. Were any government officials outside of DOD or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) involved in the Report or your Memorandum to the President? If so, who were these officials and what was the basis for their involvement?

Finally, please provide the specific medical and scientific data that supported the conclusions contained in your memorandum.

There are currently thousands of transgender individuals openly serving in the military with bravery and distinction. There has been no indication that this has had an impact on overall readiness. All individuals who are willing and qualified should be able to volunteer to serve, regardless of their gender identity. Since the wars began, the military services have appropriately moved away from identity-based service standards (including restrictions concerning sexual preference and gender) and have opted instead to rely on performance-based metrics; if you can do the job, you can compete for the job.  Your policy recommendations, if implemented, would reverse this progress.  Moreover, any ban on capable individuals serving in our military only shrinks the pool of available recruits and denies our military access to the skills, expertise, and experience of qualified servicemembers and talented recruits.

            We appreciate you giving due consideration to our questions and concerns and would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter with you.  

The full letter is attached, and a link to the letter can be found here.