Press Releases

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.” 

Congressman Smith Statement on Passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act

Washington D.C. – Congressman Smith released the following statement on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act:

December 3, 2015

I am pleased that the House passed a bipartisan reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that replaces the flawed policies of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). I voted for S. 1177, the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) because reauthorizing the ESEA is the most important action Congress can take to fix the flawed NCLB law. The ESEA technically expired on September 30th of 2007, yet until now Congress had failed to pass a new reauthorization, resulting in devastating impacts on our schools’ ability to succeed. 

NCLB placed unreasonable standards on students, teachers, and administrators, and led to award-winning schools being labeled as failing. The consequences of NCLB have been felt directly in Washington state where, since the 2014 loss of a U.S. Department of Education waiver, 88 percent of schools have been deemed to be failing under NCLB standards, even when that is clearly not the case. The new ESSA law ends the need for waivers for states and replaces the one-size-fits-all approach of NCLB’s federal accountability system by shifting authority for academic standards and school accountability back to states and local school districts.

The bipartisan ESSA conference agreement passed by the House includes aspects that are important to our region, including federal dollars to support locally-tailored improvement in the highest-need schools. The bill also authorizes the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant program that allocates federal funds based on need, population, as well as school district-identified opportunity gaps in to keep students safe and healthy students, promote well rounded education opportunities such as foreign language and STEM and encourage the effective use of technology in schools. Further, this education legislation improves the Migrant Education Program to prioritize services for migrant students who have dropped out of school. ESSA is a much needed step towards promoting fair and equal access to quality public education and helps reduce disparities between students.

Since it was first enacted in 1965, the ESEA has played a key role in providing equal access to quality public education and helping to reduce educational inequalities. Significant work still remains to ensure that all of our students, regardless of where they live, receive high-quality instruction, and I remain committed to working with my colleagues to support students throughout our country.

Ranking Member Smith Statement on President Signing 2016 National Defense Authorization Act

Washington D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement after President Obama signed the revised National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 into law:

November 25, 2015

"Today, the President signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016. Taking into account the terms of the Congressional Budget Agreement passed by the House on October 28th, this version of the National Defense Authorization Act gives the Department of Defense and our troops a predictable budget with which to plan, incorporates needed acquisition reform, and provides for the protection of our national security. Recent acts of terror throughout the world highlight the importance of this bill and the need for predictable funding for our Armed Forces. 

I voted for this revised National Defense Authorization Act. As I made clear then, the revised bill contains problematic provisions. This bill does not address necessary Base Realignment and Closure or personnel reforms. This bill does not close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. I remain concerned with a number of provisions that are now codified into law, but I recognize that the bill is better than the original 2016 National Defense Authorization Act and is essential to providing our troops and the Department of Defense with the certainty they need to plan for the future. 

As we debate upcoming Appropriations bills and begin to work on the 2017 NDAA, it is imperative that the House, Senate and President work together to eliminate sequestration altogether. There is no doubt that sequestration and budget caps have threatened our national security. 

To truly empower our Armed Forces to protect our nation's security, combat terrorist networks, and fight extremism, we must eliminate sequestration and implement a long-term spending plan."