Press Releases

Washington, D.C.: Congressman Adam Smith and Senator Patty Murray released the following statement upon hearing that Nestora Salgado was on a hunger strike:

“It is unacceptable for the Mexican government to continue to imprison Nestora Salgado in conditions that fail to protect her life and physical integrity. Nestora’s health continues to deteriorate and without immediate action by the Mexican government, Nestora’s life is truly at risk.  

“The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, United Nations human rights experts, a Mexican federal court, and many civil society groups in the United States and Mexico have all called for immediate action by the Mexican government to protect Nestora, which is long overdue. 

“We urge the United States government to take immediate action to secure Nestora’s release on humanitarian grounds.  Nestora has been deprived from due process and justice by the Mexican government and we will continue to do all we can to ensure that she receives it.”

Ms. Salgado is a resident of Renton, WA who was arrested for her leadership in community police group in her hometown of Olinalá in the state of Guerrero, which has a long tradition of legally-recognized community self-defense groups.  As her Members of Congress, Congressman Smith and Senator Murray have been working with Nestora’s family and her legal representation at Seattle University to help secure her release.  They have joined to send letters  to the State Department to bring attention to the case and ensure Nestora can safely return to her family.  

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith released the following statement announcing his opposition to the National Defense Authorization Act: 

Both Democrats and Republicans agree that the Budget Control Act caps are extremely damaging and as long as Congress fails to enact a solution, a variety of key national priorities will continue to suffer. I understand that finding a compromise to remove the caps has been elusive, but that does not justify the use of gimmicks to protect one part of the budget, and shortchange other portions that are vitally important to the future of our country. Even worse, this short-term work-around does not enable the Department of Defense to undertake long term planning or provide the certainty that they can count on such funding in the future.  I have great respect for Chairman Thornberry, but I cannot vote for this bill under these circumstances.

The National Defense Authorization Act has never been perfect. And it will never be perfect. What matters most is that, on balance, this bill represents a commitment to our national security, and to the individuals who we ask to stand watch and execute the missions necessary to ensure our security.  In today’s dangerous and unpredictable world, we must ensure that our military has the resources and tools that it needs to meet the threats of today as well as tomorrow.

However, that is just one piece of the puzzle. Maintaining our national security requires more than a strong military. If we do not have a strong economy, and build a solid foundation for future generations, then we cannot ensure our national security in the long term. If we stop investing in the American people, then we are undermining our national security and cutting short the promise of America. Unfortunately, the National Defense Authorization Act sends the message that we are only willing to fulfill half of that promise. 

The White House has also made it clear that they will veto this bill as well as other appropriations bills that reflect a similar approach. Congress is wasting time with this dead-end approach. In the coming months, it is my hope that the House, Senate and President can come together and strike a compromise to remove the budget caps and move forward with a responsible approaching to budgeting.

Today, Congressman Smith became a cosponsor of the Raise the Wage Act introduced by Senator Patty Murray and Ed & Workforce Chairman Bobby Scott.  This legislation would raise the minimum wage nationwide to $12.00 per hour by 2020.  Congressman Smith released the following statement in support of the bill:
 
“As our economy continues to recover from the Great Recession, we need policies that support investing in our workforce to ensure that everyone is sharing in the recovery.  A large part of this is making sure that employees earn a living wage.  This legislation would help do so by increasing the national minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020.

“Studies have shown that the fall in minimum wage over the last 30 years has led to an increase in inequality between median wage earners and workers at the bottom of the wage ladder. Addressing this issue is central to establishing wage equality for all workers but particularly women, as female employees are 60% more likely to be paid minimum wage than male employees.”
 
Besides increasing the national minimum wage from $7.25 to $12.00 by the year 2020, this bill would also index the minimum wage to the median wage starting in 2021, and eliminate the tipped minimum wage gradually by raising the cash wage from the current $2.13 per hour to match the regular minimum wage.

Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement on the earthquake in Nepal:
 
“My thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of those who lost their lives in the tragic earthquake in Nepal.   My deepest condolences go out to the Nepalese community in Washington State and around the world.  The United States will continue to work closely with the Nepalese government to provide support as it continues to deal with this crisis.   As a member of the Nepalese Congressional Caucus, I will do all I can in Congress to ensure that Nepal receives the humanitarian support it needs .”

 

Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement on the confirmation of Loretta Lynch:
 
“I am glad to see the Senate finally confirm Loretta Lynch as our next Attorney General.  Ms. Lynch, who is the first African American woman Attorney General, has spent her career promoting civil rights and equality.  I look forward to working with her in this new capacity.  I also want to thank former Attorney General Eric Holder for his dedicated service to our country through many difficult challenges.”