Press Releases

Congressman Smith Commemorates the 52nd Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

Washington, D.C. - August 6, 2017 marks the 52nd anniversary of the enactment of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965. In honor of this anniversary, Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement:

August 4, 2017

“On the 52nd anniversary of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), we celebrate one of our country’s most important civil rights laws. As we remember this landmark legislation, we must also denounce the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder ruling. This decision gutted portions of the VRA, allowing states with a history of voter discrimination the autonomy to re-implement discriminatory voting restrictions. In response to the Shelby v. Holder case, I have cosponsored the Voting Rights Advancement Act. This legislation will institute protections to combat voter discrimination across the country, responds to the rise in modern-day voter disenfranchisement, and helps restore the critical protections of the VRA.

“Suppressing voting rights is an outrageous attack on the foundation of democracy. As a member of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, I am committed to safeguarding the fundamental right to vote. Congress has a responsibility to protect this constitutional right, and we must do more to ensure all Americans have their voices heard at the ballot box.” 

Smith Statement Condemning RAISE Act

Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in opposition to the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, legislation introduced in the Senate by Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue and endorsed by President Trump:

August 3, 2017

“The United States has a proud history built on our founding as a nation of immigrants. Our existing immigration system is in dire need of reform, but the deeply prejudicial RAISE Act the President has endorsed is not the solution. This detestable proposal would slash our legal immigration program in half and keep families apart through dramatically altering our current family-based immigration system to a so-called merit-based program. The bill would also deny asylum to tens of thousands of refugees fleeing dangerous conditions and persecution. The RAISE Act contradicts American values, places the future of our economy at serious risk, and endangers our national security. President Trump’s support for the RAISE Act is based on a dangerous fear of America’s increasing diversity, and illustrates a clear misunderstanding of America’s heritage.

“The incredible diversity and the range of talents that immigrants have brought to the United States defines our country and our history. In the Puget Sound region, in addition to contributing to our community as scientists and innovators, immigrants are the backbone of our thriving service and tourism industries. Washington state is the third largest agricultural exporter in the United States, made possible only by the hard work of immigrants. We should be focused on legislation to fix our broken immigration system in a way that continues to grow our economy, enrich our culture, and reflect our founding principles. I will fight xenophobic proposals like the RAISE Act to ensure they do not become law.” 

Smith Statement Opposing Intelligence Authorization Act

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement after voting in opposition H.R. 3180, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018:

July 28, 2017

“Today, I voted against the Intelligence Authorization Act because of Congress’ lack of progress in negotiating reforms to, and increasing protections included in, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), as well as the rushed manner in which the bill was considered by the U.S. House of Representatives.  After attempting to bring the legislation up outside of regular order earlier this week, the House Republican leadership ultimately brought the bill to the House Floor today in a format that still did not allow for any amendments. Limiting the ability of Members to offer constructive changes on such a critical component of our government is a disservice to the democratic process.  Ultimately, I feel it is unacceptable to pass the authorization of our intelligence programs without a robust debate of important national security programs like Section 702 of FISA.

“Section 702 is a statue that authorizes the collection and use of electronic communications of non-U.S. persons without requiring a warrant or proving probable cause. I have concerns with how this section is being used.  It is unacceptable to pass a blanket extension of our intelligence programs without incorporating significant reforms to ensure the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans are safeguarded.  We must have a transparent and open debate about how we collect information, from whom we collect it, and how it is shared. Congress has a responsibility to thoroughly review and appropriately restructure Section 702 to ensure that American’s civil liberties are protected.  While the United States should be allowed to conduct foreign intelligence surveillance, we must remain vigilant in our protection of the Constitutional rights of American citizens.”

Congressman Smith Reintroduces Rural Economic Vitalization Act

Today, Congressman Adam Smith reintroduced the Rural Economic Vitalization Act (REVA), legislation that improves our wasteful, environmentally harmful, and economically inefficient federal grazing policy. This bill would update federal law to allow ranchers with grazing permits to voluntarily retire their permits to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service. Farmers would receive market value compensation for their permits, paid for by private parties, and the BLM and U.S. Forest Service would be allowed to permanently retire these grazing permits.

July 28, 2017

“We need to provide for more environmentally responsible and economically sound management of our public lands,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “As we look for sustainable solutions to our fiscal challenges, the Rural Economic Vitalization Act provides a mechanism to restore our public lands while providing economic opportunities. This legislation will benefit the American taxpayer while simultaneously protecting our environment.”

“First, I would like to thank Representative Smith for his leadership on this important issue.” said Rep. Raul Grijalva, who joined Congressman Smith in introducing the legislation. “The federal grazing program is in need of serious reform - the scale of taxpayer money that goes into subsidizing the industry, not to mention the negative impact on the environment, is often overlooked. By making it easier to voluntary retire permits, the Rural Economic Vitalization Act offers a solution that will reduce the impacts of grazing on public lands and complement federal conservation efforts throughout the Western United States, while giving ranchers new financial options. This commonsense bill is a win-win."

Background: Existing law does not allow for the retirement of grazing permits.  This outdated policy has negative impacts on wildlife, watersheds, and the surrounding ecosystem, which continue to be harmed by domestic livestock grazing.  In addition to the environmental issues that intensify the impacts of climate change, the federal grazing program is heavily subsidized and costs American taxpayers over $109.4 million a year. The Government Accountability Office reports that in Fiscal Year 2016, the BLM and U.S. Forest Service spent $135.9 million on grazing management, but only reported collecting $26.5 million in grazing fees.   

Smith Statement Opposing Security Minibus

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in opposition to H.R. 3219, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act:

July 27, 2017

“The “Security Minibus” appropriations bill the House is currently debating is completely disconnected from the realities that our country faces and the spending choices we must make. This spending package includes funding for the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Legislative Branch, Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers, agencies of the Department of Interior, and several independent agencies.

“I am strongly opposed to this legislation because of the level of defense spending it mandates. We cannot continue to increase defense spending at the expense of critical domestic funding priorities such as transportation infrastructure, protecting the environment, ensuring access to education, and providing affordable health care. Additionally, the minibus would require $1.6 billion in wasteful funding for an unnecessary border wall for which the President promised American taxpayers wouldn’t pay, and eviscerates vital funding for clean energy and advanced energy research. The bill does not reflect the priorities of the American people and fails to acknowledge the finite resources that we have at our disposal.  

“As Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I recently voted in support of the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). I did so because I support the policies contained in the NDAA, but I have and continue to raise serious concerns with the unsustainable budgeting that has become the norm for defense spending. In contrast to the NDAA, which authorizes the critical programs for our men and women in uniform, today’s bill spends an untenable level of funding for the Department of Defense. This legislation would trigger sequestration cuts that would make our budget challenges infinitely more difficult to solve. We need to make hard decisions about our fiscal future and invest in building an economy that works for all Americans.”