Press Releases

Congressman Smith Statement on Boy Scouts Ending Ban on Openly Gay Leaders

Smith Hopes Change Will Reinstate Troop 98 in Rainier Beach

July 14, 2015

On Monday,  the Boy Scouts of America announced that their executive committee approved a resolution that would end the organization’s ban on gay leaders.  This comes well over a year after Troop 98 of Seattle’s Rainier Beach United Methodist Church had their charter revoked when they refused to remove openly gay scoutmaster Geoffrey McGrath.  Congressman Smith released the following statement:

“No one should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, and I am pleased to see the Boy Scouts of America take this initial step.  With this policy change, I hope that Geoffrey McGrath and Troop 98 will be reinstated, as well as any other openly gay scoutmasters who have been unjustly removed because of their sexual orientation.”
 
In April 2014, Congressman Smith wrote a letter to the President of Boy Scouts of America expressing deep concern that Troop 98 had their charter revoked.  
 

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following comments after the Administration announced it has reached a deal on Iran’s nuclear program: 

I applaud the Administration for all of its hard work.  From the harsh sanctions that brought Iran to the table, to the strenuous and lengthy negotiations that have brought us to this point, the Administration has worked tirelessly to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. 

 I look forward to thoroughly reviewing the agreement announced today. We cannot let our desire for a deal allow us to accept a bad deal. And we cannot allow politics to stand in the way of a good deal. In the coming days, Congress will have the opportunity to scrutinize the deal presented today. It is my hope that Congress takes advantage of this time to honestly review the deal and determine whether it is in the best interest of the United States to move forward. This potential agreement comes on the heels of a long history of mistrust and cheating by Iran. Consolation with our allies and a strong inspections and verification regime will be vital to the success of this agreement. 

 Again, I applaud the Obama Administration for the progress it has made thus far and look forward to reviewing this agreement in far greater detail. 

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement in response to press reports that the Department of Defense will establish a working group on transgender service: 

I applaud Secretary Carter’s decision to establish a working group to study the policy and readiness implications of allowing transgender persons to serve openly. The brave men and women who serve in our military should not be excluded from the rights and freedoms that they risk their lives to protect. It's that simple.

Incorporating the presumption that transgender individuals can serve openly, without adverse impact on the military effectiveness and readiness, is a step in the right direction. But it is long past time that we definitively and affirmatively make it clear that gender identity should have no bearing on an individual's ability to serve. 

I look forward to the day when an individual can no longer be cast out of the military simply because of their gender identity.  

Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement on the President’s proposal to increase the overtime threshold from $23,660 to $50,440:

“I applaud the President for taking action to extend overtime pay protections.  This proposal will allow 5 million American workers to take home the money they have earned.  The overtime threshold has not been raised in decades, and in the meantime income inequality has increased and average workers have been feeling squeezed.  Now, the bottom 90 percent of Americans own just 23 percent of total U.S. wealth.

“We must be doing more to invest in the worker to build a strong middle class.  I will continue to work and advocate for policies that respect workers and the dignity of work. This change by President Obama is a step in the right direction.”

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement after the extension of Iran nuclear negotiations:

"Preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon is a vitally important national security priority in the Middle East and negotiating a good deal remains our best avenue to do so.  As negotiations have been extended, it is critical that we build on an acceptable framework that has strong inspection and verification components.  This is our opportunity to block all of Iran's paths to a nuclear weapon while avoiding military action.  As such, we must let the process play out.  I will continue to closely monitor negotiations and look forward to reviewing a final deal when it is reached."