Press Releases

Washington D.C. – Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) issued a statement on the passage of H.R. 3877, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019:

“I am pleased that Congress and the Administration were able to reach a budget agreement this week. It will eliminate the Budget Control Act’s threat of sequestration for the final two years of that law’s effect, providing clarity in federal budgeting and crucial predictability for agencies, federal workers, and all who rely on the government. By providing parity in funding authority increases between defense and all domestic programs, it helps to appropriately balance our country’s priorities. Additionally, this deal preserves the faith in and the credit of the United States by taking the imminent threat of a default on our national debt default off the table for two years.

This agreement is far from perfect and does not include everything I wanted to see in a deal. But with divided government between the legislative and executive branches, as well as between the House and Senate, it is an important step forward. It is also far better than the alternatives of sequestration cuts to funding, increases in the likelihood of a government shutdown, and what would be a first-ever U.S. sovereign debt default.

It is now imperative that Congress turn its focus to completing the appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2020 to prevent another government shutdown. As I have long insisted, we must also craft and implement a long view budgetary approach that ensures proper support for all the federal programs and priorities our country needs, while ensuring that we are collecting the revenues that are necessary to sustainably pay for them.”

Washington, D.C.- Today, the House passed H.R. 2500, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020 by a vote of 220 to 197, without the support of a single Republican.  Upon passage, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA), made the following remarks:

“Following months of bipartisan collaboration with our colleagues, the Democratic-controlled House presented the most progressive NDAA in a decade. Not only does this NDAA and its provisions keep our nation safe, but it honors the values of our country, strengthens our security, and advances America’s leadership in the world.

“This bill underpins a smart defense posture with a tough stance on Russia and continued collaboration with allies, eliminates wasteful spending, promotes a more inclusive military by reinforcing the values of diversity and ending the President’s ban on transgender service members, and solidifies Congress’ oversight role of defense programs and the authorization to use of military force.

“The bill includes critical provisions to curb U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in the war in Yemen and prevent an unauthorized war with Iran. It would help spur cleanup of PFAS chemicals in drinking water and require the Department of Defense to take steps to mitigate and address the threat of climate change. In addition, the bill would prohibit deployment funding for the low-yield nuclear warheads. Because of these and other critical provisions, it was of the utmost importance to our national defense that we pass the NDAA – and we did.”

“I am proud that House Democrats stood together in the face of partisan rhetoric while, unfortunately, our Republican colleagues turned their backs on the men and women who defend our nation, and instead choose to use them as political pawns.”

Renton, Washington – Congressman Adam Smith is joined by seven Washington State Legislators in public comments to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) underscoring community priorities in Opportunity Zones.

“An Opportunity Zone designation has the potential to drive much-needed investment into low-income areas. They stand to benefit from economic development, especially in housing supply and affordability, facilities providing quality healthcare for seniors and low-income communities, and business investment and opportunities for historically underserved populations and redlined areas. However, if there are not enough safeguards in place on how Opportunity Funds can be used, there is a strong potential for investments to lead to further displacement and gentrification.”

Our letter asks the IRS and HUD to “improve and expand the reporting requirements” and target “projects and priorities defined by the communities who are intended to benefit from the legislation – low-income residents, people of color, and other historically underserved populations.”

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement regarding yesterday’s vote on the emergency supplemental legislation.  

“Without question, there is a humanitarian crisis at our southern border. Earlier this week, I voted for a bill that would have provided much-needed funding to support and care for migrant children and families, including improved access to health care, food, and safer living conditions. However, I voted against the Senate’s supplemental bill yesterday.

 The Senate supplemental legislation puts far too much faith in an Administration that has time and again demonstrated a complete abdication of its responsibility to provide a safe environment for children and individuals in its care, a flagrant disregard for our system of separation of powers and Congress’s role in governance, as well as a propensity to disregard norms and rules that constrain the expenditure of taxpayer dollars. Individuals, including children, have died in the care of the federal government. The Administration has redirected resources towards his wall and has unnecessarily and cruelly increased deportation of long-time community members, while doing far too little to ensure the health and safety of the people his policies have harmed.

 It is entirely reasonable for Congress to demand that basic standards of care are met for vulnerable children. It is not too much for Congress to ask that the money we approve for food, medical support, the care of children, and improved facilities are actually spent for those purposes. The Senate bill we voted on yesterday failed to include these requirements. It allows the Trump Administration significant discretion to spend funds within the Department of Homeland Security how they see fit; not necessarily consistent with the intent of Congress. It also does not include a requirement that the federal government establish standards of care to better ensure the health and safety of children and adults and lacks a provision in the House-passed bill that placed limits on keeping unaccompanied children at unlicensed facilities. 

 The Senate should have taken the House up on its offer to come together and resolve differences between each chamber’s bill, as we do for countless other pieces of legislation, but Republican Senate Majority Leader McConnell refused to even discuss this legislation with the leadership of the House.”

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) today issued the following statement in response to the Department of the Defense decision to deploy additional personnel and assets to the Central Command area of responsibility. 

“Today’s decision by the Department of Defense to increase its presence in the Middle East is unsettling.  While requests from CENTCOM should always be taken seriously, our posture in the region should be scrutinized if it does not fit into a broader strategy.  Without a clearly articulated strategy, adding more personnel and mission systems seems unwise, and appears to be a blatant and heavy-handed move to further escalate tensions with Iran.

“Leaders from both sides of the aisle have called for de-escalation.  At first blush, this move does not fit the bill. I look forward to hearing from Acting Defense Secretary Shanahan how this decision complements a broader strategy in the region, which focuses on de-escalation and diplomacy first.”