Press Releases

Smith Statement on Hanford Tank Farm Operations

Congressman Adam Smith issued the following statement in response to the decision of Hanford Site tank farms contractor Washington River Protection Solutions to cut back on operations. This action follows a July 11, 2016 Atomic Metal Trades Council stop work order for all Hanford waste storage tank farms unless workers are supplied with air respirators to protect them from toxic vapors:

July 28, 2016

“I remain concerned about the source of the tank vapor problems at the Hanford Nuclear site, and the need to implement a permanent solution that will protect Hanford workers. This has been an on-going issue that has sickened dozens of workers and must be more decisively resolved in order to protect worker health and safety.

“As Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I remain committed to ensuring a rigorous, safe clean-up at Hanford and I will continue to fight to ensure that during this process the health of all workers is a priority.”

Smith Statement on Separation of Powers Restoration Act

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in response to the passage of the Separation of Powers Restoration Act:

July 13, 2016

“Congress has the very serious responsibility of addressing the challenges our country faces with rational policy solutions. We are tasked with the duty of developing legislation that creates broad-based opportunities for all, grows our economy, and keeps our country strong and forward-looking, while making government work better for everyone.

“Unfortunately, House Republican leadership chose to spend large portions of Monday and Tuesday of this week debating and voting on the deceptively named Separation of Powers Restoration Act of 2016, H.R. 4768. While H.R. 4768 claims to restore the separation of powers, it in fact subverts it by forcing the judicial system to wade into the executive rule-making process. H.R. 4768 would undo decades of judicial precedent established by the Supreme Court, where courts defer to the expertise of government agencies when reviewing challenges to Federal Agency actions. The legislation would open up all agency actions and rules to challenges that could make the rule-making process exceptionally lengthy and render it ineffective, while overly-burdening government agencies with unnecessary record keeping and data recording. Instead of ensuring taxpayer dollars are spent in the most efficient and effective manner, the bill would vastly increase the cost to the taxpayer of agency rule-making. Additionally, the bill will have the adverse effect of trapping critical consumer protections in a web of judicial reviews that would make passage of an agency rule almost impossible.

“The historical practice of courts deferring to agency expertise was established for good reason, and has been proven effective. Rather than wasting time on pushing through an unnecessary solution in search of a problem, I encourage my Republican colleagues to instead focus on improving the lives of Americans.”

“This week our nation has experienced immeasurable heartbreak. My deepest sympathies are with every family and community that has been touched by violence over the past few days. As we move forward, there are many difficult questions and issues that must be addressed as those whose lives have been torn apart begin to heal.” 

“As a country, it is imperative that we come together to address the violence that devastates countless families. We must continue to support efforts to end the senseless violence fueled by hatred that has become a far too frequent pattern in cities throughout America.” 

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.