Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement on the CROmnibus:
 
“House Republicans continue to govern by crisis and fiscal cliffs .  Under the threat of a government shutdown, Republicans are trying to force through unacceptable legislation that allows big banks to gamble with taxpayer-backed funds and empowers the wealthy to donate even more money to influence the political process.  This attempt to curry favor with Wall Street and the rich simply recreates the financial environment that lead to the Great Recession.  Additionally, in an ongoing effort to undermine the President’s Executive Action on Immigration, funding is only provided until February 27 for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS),  negatively impacting the ability of DHS to plan and  accomplish their priorities.
 
“We can keep the government open without these gratuitous measures that favor special interests over investments in good-paying jobs and the middle class. These unacceptable provisions have no business being in a spending bill to keep our government running and they should be removed before a vote.  And if these really are Republicans priorities, than they should put them up for a vote on their own, instead of using legislative tricks and holding our economy hostage to jam them through Congress.”

 

Today, Congressmen Adam Smith (D-WA) and Sander Levin (D-MI), as well as 30 other House Democrats, sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi urging the reauthorization of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, which is set to expire December 31, 2014.  Reps. Smith and Levin introduced the TAA Act earlier this Congress, which would fully reauthorize the program.

“TAA is a critical part of our nation’s competitiveness strategy in the face of a rapidly evolving world economy and its reauthorization enjoys bipartisan support,” the Members wrote. “Congressional leadership and action to reauthorize TAA is needed to stop the termination of an effective program that helps American workers and firms compete, innovate, strengthen, and diversify America’s economy. We must do all we can to save jobs by helping firms readjust and workers regain their edge and competitiveness in the global marketplace.”

Background: Congress created the TAA program in 1962 in response to the loss of jobs among hard-working Americans as a result of increasing global competition, as well as to promote American competitiveness.  TAA benefits have several components: training assistance, income support while in training, and job search and relocation assistance.  The program assists workers dislocated by the elimination of tariffs and other barriers to trade.  Additional programs assist farmers, fishermen, and firms with the development and implementation of business plans to enable them to regain a competitive foothold. Click here for the full text of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Act of 2014.

TAA by the numbers:

•             2,192,910:  The number of workers served by TAA since it was created in 1974

•             104,158:  The number of workers eligible to apply for TAA in 2013

•             50:  The number of states with workers eligible for TAA benefits in 2013

•             75%:  The percentage of TAA workers who got a job within six months of finishing the program

•             90%:  The percentage of those TAA workers who remained employed at the end of the year

 

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement in response to the release of the Senate report on torture:

The release of the Senate torture report today underscores a number of important points. First and foremost, the act of torture stands in stark contrast to our values. America has been and will continue to be a force for good in the world, and torture undermines our ability to protect human rights and dignity. We cannot demand something of others that we do not demand of ourselves.
 
As many interrogators will tell you, an individual who is being tortured will say or do anything to make it stop. People being tortured will tell interrogators what they want to hear, which is often far different than the truth. Even in those rare instances where usable information is gleaned, that information is not worth the damage done to the American image overseas and at home.  This is especially true because we know that information can almost always be gained through lawful methods.
 
There are people upset by the release of the report today. Some will claim that releasing this report could jeopardize national security, but their anger is misplaced. The potential negative effects of releasing this report are not a product of transparency – they are a consequence of illegal actions in the past.

Those who work at the CIA are often unknown American heroes.  The vast majority of those CIA employees I have met and interacted with are intelligent people dedicated to keeping the United States and the American people safe.  It is a true tragedy that the American people, Congress, and the White House were apparently misled about the unacceptable interrogation techniques.  Congress must exercise far greater oversight over the activities of the Agency in the future to ensure that future programs are legal and effective.  
 
As Americans, we are better than torture and we should use this report as motivation to ensure that it never happens again.

 

Congressman Smith released the following statement after House Republicans passed legislation attempting to ban the President from taking executive action on immigration reform:
 
“Today’s passage of  H.R. 5759 proves once again that House Republicans’ priorities for immigration reform are to obstruct progress and to rip families apart.  It is shameful that House Republicans are willing to take immediate action on this bill to restrict the President’s authority to provide relief for millions of undocumented immigrants, but for over a year have refused to allow a simple vote on a comprehensive immigration reform bill.  
 
“While Republican leadership continues to play politics, millions of people and families are suffering.  They cannot wait any longer.  That is why I opposed this legislation which tries to ban the President from using his authority to improve our immigration system and bring millions out of the shadows.  I will continue to fight for deportation relief, reforms to our immigration detention policies, and most importantly for comprehensive immigration reform.  We must come together to pass a meaningful comprehensive immigration reform bill that keeps families together.”


 

 

Washington D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement in response to Secretary Hagel’s resignation:

Secretary Hagel stepped into office during a very difficult time. In addition to dealing with the mindless cuts forced on the Department of Defense through sequestration, Secretary Hagel helped manage the continued drawdown in Afghanistan, and among other issues, the challenges posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Russia and Ebola. These are significant challenges, and we owe Secretary Hagel a debt of gratitude for his efforts to deal with them.

Secretary Hagel has been a very good partner with Congress. He worked hard to stay in touch with us, and ensure that there was good communication and coordination. I wish him the very best in his future endeavors, and I thank him for his service.