Press Releases

KENT, WASHINGTON – Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement after visiting the Northwest Harvest’s food distribution center in Kent, Washington where workers, volunteers and the National Guard are packing and delivering food to families in need as a result of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic:

“Today I had the opportunity to visit Northwest Harvest’s food distribution center in Kent that helps provide food for families throughout the region. Food banks are instrumental in making sure Washingtonians have food, and they have worked to find creative ways to ensure food can be delivered safely and efficiently while facing challenging circumstances and a huge increase in demand due to the economic impact of the pandemic.

“It was also great to see members of the Washington National Guard assisting with operations at Northwest Harvest. Hundreds of Guardsmen have been mobilized by the state of Washington to support food banks across Washington. The National Guard joined countless workers and volunteers at food banks who have dedicated themselves to serving the community. It was an honor to see these frontline workers at Northwest Harvest and I commend them for their commitment to helping others. 

“While food banks like Northwest Harvest are doing a tremendous job, they are going to need more support from Congress to keep up with the growing demand for food assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most critical ways we can support food banks and ensure individuals and families do not go hungry is to increase the minimum SNAP benefit in the next COVID-19 relief package. I will do everything I can to fight for this because families deserve more support and food banks need our help.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement after the Trump Administration notified Congress that it intends to partially backfill military construction projects that were robbed to fund the border wall by pilfering additional funding from the European Deterrence Initiative and other overseas projects, diverting focus from the COVID-19 response:

“As this Administration continues to gut projects that are critical to our national security, it is clear no matter how many billions President Trump steals for his vanity wall on the southern border it will never be enough. The Administration still has $2 billion in unobligated military construction funds that they redirected for the wall last year. Rather than moving these funds back to the military construction projects they were originally intended for, the Administration continues to find ways to adversely impact projects that support military readiness and deterrence in Europe.

“The President falsely takes credit for ‘rebuilding’ the military, when in reality his theft of DoD dollars has led to the cancellation of 128 military construction projects both at home and abroad. Now – despite Congress’ refusal to endorse this theft – the Trump Administration is attempting to backfill these projects by cutting funding for the European Deterrence Initiative and other overseas projects. Our partners and allies rely on the support of EDI funds to prevent Russian aggression in the region and these cuts will have real, lasting effects on our national security.

“Furthermore, we know the border wall simply does not work. The wall has already been cut through, tunneled under, swept away by floods, and blown over by winds. It is an embarrassing waste of taxpayer dollars.

“As the country grapples with a once-in-a-generation health crisis, the full power of the federal government should be focused on one thing: our collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, thanks to this Administration’s wasteful policies, the US Army Corps of engineers and other DoD elements that could be focused on COVID-19 are still working to help execute a campaign promise that does nothing to support our national security.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement for the Congressional Record on the importance of U.S. leadership and investments in global health and development in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak:

"Government and public health officials in the U.S. have started grappling with how to reopen the economy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of this discussion has understandably focused on what we need to do here in the U.S. such as drastically expanding testing capacity and hiring additional personnel to conduct a massive amount of contact tracing. For us to be prepared to prevent outbreaks here at home, however, we also have to think beyond our borders.

"The reality of infectious diseases like COVID-19 is that outbreaks anywhere in the world threaten transmission here in the U.S. The pandemic has upended countries in almost every corner of the world, but the impact on developing countries will be especially devastating. Not only do these countries already have low-resourced health systems but many are facing other challenges caused by conflict, climate change, droughts, migration and displacement. Their ability to prevent, contain, and respond to outbreaks is severely limited, making assistance from the international community critical.

"While the prevalence of COVID-19 in most developing countries remains unknown due to limited testing, the impact of the crisis is already taking its toll. The economic fallout from the pandemic will hit vulnerable populations the hardest; hundreds of millions of people could be pushed into poverty. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization has warned of a looming food crisis caused by significant strains on the global food supply chain. By the end of this year, the number of people on the brink of starvation around the world could double.

"In the short-term, the U.S. must bring significant investments in emergency economic and humanitarian relief to the table. The potential for drastic increases in poverty and widespread famine will foster further instability and displacement. Progress in developing countries to reduce conflict, increase economic opportunity, and promote good governance will be set back. Providing immediate additional resources to combat COVID-19 in other countries will not only alleviate the humanitarian crisis and reduce its potential destabilizing impacts, but it will also help prevent new outbreaks here in the U.S.

"In the long run, the work to prevent future outbreaks and combat the next pandemic is never-ending. The investments we make today in global health and development will help determine our ability to prevent and combat future outbreaks. For decades, unfortunately, this work has been underfunded. We have to increase our funding for global health security to strengthen health systems in developing countries so they are better prepared to contain diseases and prevent outbreaks. Investments in development and economic assistance, global health, and humanitarian relief are also vital for countries to improve their outbreak response and recovery. Efforts to cut these programs and gut key agencies such as USAID, the State Department, and the CDC are short-sighted and harm the long-term health and economic wellbeing of the U.S.

"In the coming months and years, a lot of attention will be given to questions around how the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded and how we prevent and better mitigate future outbreaks. We must use this opportunity to reinforce the value of U.S. global leadership and make the case for strengthened investments in global health and development. If anything, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a stark reminder that these investments are critical to protecting the health, economic, and security interests of the U.S."

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement in response to the Secretary of Defense’s decision to hold the results of the Navy’s investigation of the COVID-19 outbreak aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt:
 
“The Secretary of Defense needs to reinstate Captain Brett Crozier as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt. While Captain Crozier’s actions at the outset of the health crisis aboard the TR were drastic and imperfect, it is clear he only took such steps to protect his crew.
 
“Not only did Captain Crozier have the full support of his crew, he also attempted to work within his chain of command. During this time of crisis, Captain Crozier is exactly what our Sailors need: a leader who inspires confidence.
 
“The decision to relieve Captain Crozier in the first place was made by Former Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly. Modly's subsequent decision to board the U.S.S. Roosevelt and deliver a petty, obscenity-laced speech attacking Captain Crozier while the crew of the Roosevelt dealt with the COVID-19 outbreak should seriously call into question Modly's decision making ability in general, and makes it all the more clear that his decision to relieve Captain Crozier was completely wrong. Captain Crozier should be reinstated to his command immediately."
 
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today released the following statement after the House passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act to provide funding for small businesses, hospitals and health workers, and testing in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak:

“The interim emergency relief bill passed by Congress will replenish desperately needed funds for small businesses and provide additional money to support our health care system. Democrats worked hard over the last two weeks to make significant improvements to this legislation from what was first proposed by Senate Republicans.

“The dire circumstances facing small businesses were made clear by how quickly funding for the Paycheck Protection Program and other small business programs were exhausted. The bill passed today will not only provide additional funding for these programs but strengthen them to better reach all small businesses. This bill will set aside money for businesses in underserved communities through Community Development Financial Institutions and minority depository institutions.  

“The bill will also provide additional money to hospitals, providers, and medical professionals who are risking their lives every day to protect our communities. Hospitals and providers have faced a mounting financial burden responding to COVID-19. Funding from this bill will help ease this strain and help with purchasing additional personal protective equipment for their workers on the frontline.

“Lastly, it is especially important that this legislation devotes $25 billion to testing. Expanding our testing capacity is key to reopening the economy safely. States and the health care system cannot do this on their own. We were successful in requiring the Administration to develop a national testing strategy, including how we will increase testing capacity. Action from the federal government to take the lead in expanding testing across the U.S. is long overdue.   

“This bill is far from perfect. We still need more funding for state, local, and tribal entities on the frontlines of COVID-19 who face extraordinarily difficult fiscal conditions. Individuals and families need to be further supported by expanding SNAP benefits, providing additional cash payments to the people, ensuring adequate protections for workers, and enhancing assistance for rent, mortgage, and utility payments. We also must fill the gaps in previous federal assistance by prioritizing support and eligibility for immigrants and making sure that vulnerable communities are not left behind in prevention and recovery efforts. As we pass this interim legislation, the House is working on the next relief package to provide comprehensive support to help combat the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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