Press Releases

Smith Statement on Passage of the FY2018 NDAA in the House

Washington, D.C. – Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following statement about the passage of the FY 18 NDAA in the House:

July 14, 2017

“An enormous amount of good bipartisan work has gone into the writing of this bill, and I am supporting it. Make no mistake about it: We face a complex threat environment. North Korea is testing intercontinental ballistic missiles, Russia continues to undermine not just our elections, but democracy itself across the globe, and we face a terrorist threat. These are dangers that we must be prepared to confront.

“On the issue of terrorism, I want to warn strongly against using the issue of terrorism to demonize the Muslim religion. I know many people don’t want to do that—they simply want to confront groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS—but Steve Bannon, who works at the White House, indicates that he thinks that all Muslims are a threat. To the extent that we adopt a national security policy that views the world that way, we make the problem worse. That’s what ISIS wants. That’s what Al Qaeda wants. They want a clash of civilizations. We should not want that. Muslims have the biggest stake in this, and we must work with them, not against them, to confront the terrorist threat that ISIS and Al Qaeda and others present.

“On the broader budget issue, the main thing I am still concerned about in this bill is that it really doesn’t make choices. It continues to spend money in a variety of different places without a recognition of finite resources, and of the choices that need to be made about how to confront the threats that are most dangerous to us. This defense bill is $72 billion over the budget caps, so if we don’t eliminate or raise the budget caps, that additional money will go away, and leave us once again in the land of uncertainty for the Department of Defense. We have to make choices so that we don’t leave the U.S. military in the lurch, not knowing how much money they are going to have.

“I also want to point out that the rest of the budget does matter. The President’s budget contains a $54 billion plus-up for defense and a $54 billion cut from nondefense discretionary spending. So don’t tell me one thing doesn’t have anything to do with the other.  What are we talking about with domestic spending? Here are a few examples: I mentioned our infrastructure, that bridges are collapsing all across the country. We have incredible infrastructure needs that lead to the strength of our country. They are connected, just like national defense is, to the strength of this nation.

“Another example is the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, which is close to my district in Seattle. It is doing incredible research right now about how not to use chemotherapy, but to actually go in and take out the white blood cells that aren’t working, get them to work, send them back in, and successfully fight cancer. This has worked for blood cancers, and they’ve just started studies on lung cancer, where basically we could cure cancer without going through the hell of chemo. The President’s budget would cut Fred Hutchinson’s funding by more than two-thirds.

“So cutting domestic spending is not a political issue. It is a policy choice, and a very real deed that has an incredible impact on the lives of Americans just like national security, just like making sure North Korea doesn’t hit us with nuclear weapons. Making sure that terrorist groups don’t attack us, curing cancer, stopping bridges from collapsing, these are policy priorities. And because we’re not making budget choices, these are priorities that get pushed aside.

“We heard yesterday that in a time of war, you make domestic sacrifices. We’ve read all about World War II and the domestic sacrifices that were made at that time. But you know what else you do in a time of war? You don’t cut taxes. You raise them. Prior to 2001, we had never gone to war without raising taxes or issuing war bonds or raising more revenue. Yet, we are unwilling to do that. I care enough about the national security of our country that I would raise taxes and pay for it. That’s the choice I would make. These choices are not being made in this so-called budget resolution, and I think that places us at risk.

“Lastly, the nondefense discretionary budget is the State Department; it’s USAID; it’s the Department of Homeland Security. If you’re going to have a national security strategy, it can’t just be the military. And you know who will tell you that more often than anybody? The military. They don’t want to bear the burden alone. Secretary Mattis said it best when he told us, I believe, that ‘If you’re going to cut diplomacy, if you’re going to cut development, you had better give me four more divisions. Because that’s how many more wars I’m going to have to fight.’ All of these things matter to the national security of this country.

“It is more likely than not that this bill—with all the good work that has been done on a number of different policy provisions unrelated to the money—that all of that is in jeopardy because this bill has at least $72 billion in it over the budget caps, that is not likely to be there come October 1 or the end of the year. So, if we don’t make the choices on the budget that reflect the priorities of the entire country, that actually reflect the budget numbers, then we are doing a disservice to the men and women who serve our country. It’s a good bill. It is going to be better once we figure out the budget issues and actually start making the choices that are necessary to make us stronger in every aspect of society.”

Smith Statement on the Defense Department Delaying Transgender Enlistment

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following statement about the decision to delay the date for transgender accessions to the military:

July 1, 2017

"This decision to delay transgender accession to the military is unjustified and morally wrong. The Defense Department has already studied the issue extensively and found that there are no substantial practical obstacles to allowing trans people to join the military and defend their country. To the contrary, many are already serving in the military and doing so with distinction. The only remaining obstacle is prejudice."

s. America must be prepared for a range of Russian hostile acts, including military provocation and cyberattacks. That’s why this bill is so critical—we need a comprehensive, organized response to these threats to our democracy,” said Speier.

“I support this bill because it embraces a clear and all-inclusive approach to countering the serious threats that Russia poses to our nation’s democracy. It’s time that America takes a strong stance against their provocations,” said Veasey.

“For the past year, Russia has attempted to influence, alter, and undermine American democracy—and addressing this head-on must be a national security priority. When our democracy is threatened, we must act—and not just with press statements, but with a real plan,” said Norcross. “That’s why I’m joining with colleagues to prevent a hot war, a cold war, a cyber war, and a nuclear war. This bill offers a comprehensive set of solutions that will help us strengthen our alliances and reduce the risk of another nuclear arms race.”

"The threat from Russia is real, clear, and immediate. Russia is an enemy that undermines our elections, degrades our alliance network, and abuses the human and civil rights of its own people and freedom-loving peoples around the world,” said Gallego. “While President Trump continues to cozy up to President Putin, his feckless handling of foreign policy is putting our national security at risk. Through the Fostering Unity Against Russian Aggression Act, Democrats in Congress are working to preserve America’s formidable leadership of the Western alliance in opposition to Putin.”  

“Russia has conducted an aggressive campaign to undermine not only our democracy, but democracies in Western Europe. I am proud to support Ranking Member Smith’s bill that addresses these attacks with an effective strategy--something the Administration has failed to do. Congress cannot stand idly by while President Trump fails to respond to a grave threat to our democracy,” said Moulton.

“Russia’s aggressive actions make clear the need for a comprehensive U.S. deterrence strategy. By passing this bill, Congress can forcefully reaffirm America’s commitment to the NATO alliance and jumpstart needed improvements to our own and our allies’ readiness to counter unconventional modes of aggression, including propaganda and cyberattacks,” said Shea-Porter.

“Since the start of the investigation into Russian meddling, an overwhelming number of our nation's intelligence officials have confirmed Russian interference in the 2016 election, with many now warning of similar cyberattacks and hacking during upcoming elections,” said Rosen. “I am proud to join my colleagues in support of this bill, which proposes a comprehensive strategy to deter Russian hostility because nothing could be more important to our way of life than the integrity of our democracy.”

“By meddling in our elections last year, Russia attacked our democracy. That aggression calls for a strong and sustained response. We must continue to strengthen our partnerships with European allies—and we need to proactively plan for the new and unconventional threats we are already facing. I am pleased to join Ranking Member Smith in supporting a bill that does all this and more,” said McEachin. 

“Military leaders have continually expressed that Russian aggression poses a grave threat to our national security and we cannot take these concerns lightly,” said Carbajal. “It is imperative that Congress pass this common-sense legislation and provide a comprehensive framework to combat methods the Russian government is employing to destabilize our democratic institutions, both in the United States and abroad.”

“Russia has repeatedly worked to weaken our democracy and sow disunity among the United States and its allies. In addition to maliciously interfering in our election and those in Germany and France, the Kremlin has deployed missiles in violation of arms control treaties and committed unprovoked acts of aggression in Eastern Europe. This bill calls for a comprehensive strategy to address Russia while working to deescalate conflict that would be catastrophic for all. Ranking Member Smith’s legislation is a significant step forward in ensuring we hold Russia accountable for its harmful and destabilizing activities around the world,” said Brown.

"Russia uses both military and non-military tools to achieve its geopolitical objectives, and uses those tools globally to diminish the United States. It is critical for the United States to have a strong and comprehensive strategy to counter Russian aggression, and this bill would ensure that the Administration develops and implements such a strategy," said Murphy.

“There can be no mistake, Russia’s blatant disregard for international agreements and treaties must be countered with strength on the international stage,” said O’Halleran. “I am proud to support legislation that strengthens our commitment to the collective defense of our allies. We must take action to end to this encroaching aggression and prevent future attempts to weaken our democracy, or the democratic process in countries around the world.”

“As I’ve been saying since day one, we need to send Putin a strong message that we’re not going to let him undermine democratic governments. Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford have said that Russia continues to pose a serious threat to democracies. This bill is an effort of Congress to work with the Department of Defense to develop a comprehensive strategy to confront the 21st century hybrid threat posed by Russia,” said Suozzi.

“Former Director Comey’s testimony today in the United States Senate further confirms the enormous threat posed by Russian interference with our election system in the 2016 cycle and its continued efforts around the world. This interference should deeply concern all Americans, and the need to take measures to protect our democratic system of government should span the political aisle.

“It is beyond disturbing for the President to attempt to stifle the FBI investigation into election meddling from any foreign power. It is especially alarming for this interference to take place in the midst of an investigation that is focused on actions taken by the President and his colleagues with respect to that foreign power. The Department of Justice, together with the FBI, is tasked with carrying out independent investigations, free from political interference. We must continue to carefully follow the facts, wherever they may lead us. President Trump may continue to refuse to uncover and acknowledge the truth, but the American public deserves answers.” 

“President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement is a disastrous move that undermines the most significant global climate change agreement to date. Either the President does not understand or simply does not care about the devastating impact global climate change will bring about.  

“As the world’s second-largest polluter, emitting fifteen percent of global emissions, but with only about five percent of the world’s population, the United States has a moral obligation to reduce carbon emissions. The Administration’s action also shows a disturbing ignorance of our country’s role as an international leader and a complete disregard for the proven science and consequences of a changing climate.

“With sea-levels continuing to rise, global temperatures increasing, and record droughts and fires destroying communities, it is irresponsible to abandon the international community. Across the world, extreme weather events and climate change disproportionately impact people and communities of color and those living in poverty. The United States and the international community have supported advancements in global health, stability, and democracy to combat climate change while making strides in promoting policies focused on expanding environmental justice. I have been heartened to see that combined efforts have created new jobs, increased standards of living, and lifted millions out of poverty. Now is not the time for the United States to turn its back on progress and our international partners.

“The fight to prevent a changing climate does not stop today. In response to the Trump Administration’s failure to lead, we must support the actions of our local leaders as they implement policies that prioritize improvements to public health and investments in programs that mitigate the growing dangers of climate change. I am proud to represent a district that prioritizes a sustainable relationship with nature, and I take my commitment to protecting our environment seriously. I will continue to fight for policies that allow for future generations to lead prosperous and healthy lives.”