Press Releases

Congressman Smith Statement on Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith issued the following statement on the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus bill passed by the House and Senate today:

December 18, 2015

“Today I voted to pass the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Act. The bill provides for $1.067 trillion of discretionary spending, following the two-year budget agreement signed into law in October 2015, as well as $73.693 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds. The Omnibus bill passed by the House and the Senate today funds our national and economic security for the next year, and is an important step towards Congress fulfilling its responsibility to the American people to meet our fiscal obligations for the next year. 

“The Omnibus bill includes funding for programs that invest in our future and support education, encourage economic growth, and modernize our infrastructure. It is reassuring that Republicans showed a willingness to compromise and removed a number of ideological riders that were debated throughout the failed FY 2016 appropriations process earlier this year. This Omnibus bill and the certainty it will provide our economy, the Department of Defense, and the entire federal government is preferable to governing from budget crisis to budget crisis. The agreement provides a one-year window of opportunity to address our core budget problems in the long-term.   

“Congress, together with the American people, must have an honest conversation about the budget realities that we face. We must use the time that this Omnibus bill provides to engage in productive conversations to agree to a long-term spending plan that supports the middle class and grow our economy.”

Congressman Smith Statement on Tax Extenders Legislation

Congressman Adam Smith issued the following statement on the tax extenders package:

December 17, 2015

“I voted against the tax extender bill considered in the House today because it is inequitable and leaves our nation’s finances worse off. The $622 billion tax package extends many tax breaks while ignoring the reality that we simply do not collect enough revenue to fund the important programs that help create a strong economy.

“While a number of helpful provisions are included, such as a permanent extension of both the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit and the State & Local Sales Tax Deduction, the enormous cost of this un-paid for bill and its impact on the deficit is concerning. Ultimately, positive aspects of this tax package do not come close to outweighing the legislation’s imbalanced priorities and decreased revenues. 

“Over the last fifteen years, we have cut revenue by trillions of dollars and seen our debt increase substantially while our infrastructure has suffered. If we hope to balance the budget while expanding economic opportunity, investing in innovation and infrastructure, and strengthening the working class, we must adopt a responsible tax system. We need sound and forward-looking policies to address our budget issues in a comprehensive way that properly balances spending priorities while raising revenue.” 

Ranking Member Smith Statement on Donald Trump's Irresponsible Rhetoric

Ranking Member Smith released the following statement in response to Donald Trump’s recent remarks:

December 8, 2015

Our nation’s diversity is our greatest strength. In the strongest possible terms, I condemn Donald Trump’s recent proposal to bar all Muslims from entering the United States. This rhetoric follows earlier absurd statements from Mr. Trump calling for the creation of a database to track Muslims in our communities, under the guise of protecting national security. With these irrational statements, Mr. Trump both misrepresents Americans and puts our national security at risk by doing exactly what ISIS wants. These unintelligent words feed the anti-American narrative and empower ISIS to incorrectly paint the American people as anti-Islamic.

The United States is proud to be a nation of immigrants founded on the equal protection of all. I am deeply honored to represent an incredibly diverse district, and I believe in following through on the promise of ensuring the fundamental rights of life, liberty and equal opportunity, for all groups of people. 

Congressman Smith Statement on Passage of Highway and Public Transit Bill

Washington D.C. – Congressman Smith released the following statement on the passage of the bipartisan conference report of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act:

December 3, 2015

A well-functioning and efficient surface transportation network is critical for future economic growth.  Investment in our nation's infrastructure and public transit provides jobs for thousands, allows for the efficient movement of goods that keeps our economy growing, and ensures the safety of countless lives.

Today, the House passed H.R. 22, the bipartisan conference report of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act. H.R. 22 is a long-term five-year extension of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) that allows for funding of projects to continue through 2020, and authorizes appropriations from the trust fund to continue through FY 2022. This legislation creates a program for nationally significant freight and highway projects that is to be funded through the HTF, while also establishing a national multimodal freight policy to improve efficiency in the movement of goods across all modes of transportation.  In addition, H.R. 22 renews the critically important Export-Import Bank through FY 2019. While the bill provides $281 billion in guaranteed funding for highway, transit, and transportation safety programs over the next five years, $12.8 billion more than provided by the House-passed bill, it includes no new or increased revenues for the HTF.

This reauthorization is not perfect and contains problematic provisions. However, I supported this legislation because it gives our states and the economy the certainty that is crucial to continue funding infrastructure projects around the country. A great deal of federal transportation spending is supported by gas tax revenues that are deposited into the HTF. The tax rates on gasoline and diesel fuel are not adjusted for inflation, have not been increased in more than twenty years, and each year lose buying power to pay for transportation improvements and repairs. H.R. 22 extends existing taxes through 2022, but it does not increase gas tax rates or index them to inflation, and it does not address a coming shortfall in revenues for the HTF.

While this bill is a necessary step forward, Congress and the American people need to have an honest debate about our budget, national finances and tax policies, and investment in critical infrastructure maintenance and improvements. Our nation's transportation system plays a significant role in our economy and quality of life in our communities.  I understand the importance of maintaining and improving highways, roads, bridges, and transit, as well as other types of infrastructure, and I will continue to work in Congress to make responsible investments in these priorities.

Today's global economy is more competitive than ever before.  In order for the US to maintain its competitive edge, we must fully fund infrastructure investments now.  Transportation is an issue that I believe both sides of the aisle can agree on and I look forward to working with my colleagues to fund a reliable, 21st century transportation system that will support economic growth in Washington state and throughout our nation.             

Ranking Member Adam Smith Statement on Secretary Carter’s Announcement to Open All Combat Positions to Women

Washington D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith released the following statement on the announcement that Secretary Carter will allow for all military positions to be open to women:

December 3, 2015

“I applaud Secretary of Defense Ash Carter for taking action on policy guidelines that close certain combat occupations to women. As a result of these changes, anyone, regardless of gender, who can meet operationally relevant standards, will have the opportunity to serve in any position in the Armed Forces of the United States.

Prior to today’s announcement, certain exceptions allowed for women to be barred from various combat roles in the military. This critical step towards allowing women to serve in all levels of our military is a strong move towards achieving full equality in our Armed Forces. Today’s announcement is a response to extensive review by the Department of Defense of policies governing the assignment of women in the Armed Forces. The Department of Defense is opening to women the approximately 213,600 previously closed positions spanning 52 closed military occupational specialties. This announcement follows five years of detailed review of current policies.  

As we saw earlier this year, two women made history as the first female soldiers to complete the Army's Ranger School. Men and woman can, and should, be held to the same standard in the military.  I am a committed supporter of equality. I recognize that there is a lot of work that remains to be done to ensure that all Americans are equal under the law, and will continue to advocate for further review of existing policies that ensure equal rights for all service members.”