Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman (D-WA) released the following statement about DoD’s Implementation of the ban on the service of transgender people.

“It would be prudent for Acting Secretary Shanahan to delay implementing the Mattis policy until the courts have made their final determinations. Any other course of action not only undermines military readiness, but is also an insult to transgender individuals who have served and are still serving with distinction. Anyone who is qualified and willing should be allowed to serve their country openly.  Make no mistake, this is a discriminatory ban on transgender people, not a ban on a medical condition and we will continue to fight against this bigoted policy.”

“Today, Democrats are answering the call from the American people to restore our democracy with a broad package of reforms to take on campaign finance regulations, expand voting rights, and improve ethics in all three branches of the federal government. Renewing confidence in our democracy requires a multifaceted approach, and I am proud to support this important step in reforming our electoral process, restoring integrity to campaign finance, and promoting ethics.

“I strongly support the transparency this legislation will bring to our campaign finance system. To reduce the prevalence of corporate and foreign funding of our elections, we must move toward public financing for all elections to federal office. Our current privately-financed system, along with court rulings that have gutted earlier campaign finance reform laws, allows the wealthiest individuals and corporations to hide their spending. We must bring dark money out in to the light for public scrutiny and put the political power back in the hands of everyday Americans.

“Following the Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County v. Holder more than five years ago, more than two dozen states have enacted anti-voter laws that make it harder to register and more difficult to cast ballots. Increasing access to elections supports free and fair elections for Americans to make their voices heard at all levels of government. H.R. 1 prioritizes electoral equity, by modernizing voter registration for the 21st century. By requiring early voting options, supporting voting by mail efforts, and increasing voting locations near public transportation, the legislation will empower voters across our country and expand access to polls. Every American must be guaranteed a voice in our democracy – and H.R. 1 is a critical first step in restoring that promise.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in response to voting in support of H.Res. 183, a resolution condemning bigotry and prejudice in all forms, including anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and white nationalism:

“Political dialogue in this country should come from a point of respect and understanding, free from racism, hatred, anti-Semitism, or Islamophobia. The charge of dual loyalty or allegiance is one of the oldest forms of anti-Semitism; for centuries, Jews in countries around the world have been subjected to these claims. Here in the United States, less than just a century ago, unfounded claims of dual loyalty were the basis for the wrongful incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

“It is okay to disagree with Israel’s actions and policies, but these debates must be had without resorting to comments that have dark, anti-Semitic underpinnings. It is not okay to claim that support for Israel is solely because of money or dual loyalty. Regardless of intentions, remarks with these undertones continue to perpetuate anti-Semitic beliefs. Similarly, attacking any individual for their religion, race, or origin is equally wrong. The recent anti-Islamic threats and remarks are disgusting and have no place in our society, let alone political discourse. They are a stark reminder of the hatred and discrimination that communities of color and Muslims face in our country and around the world.

“I want to reiterate that we cannot equate criticism of Israel’s policies and actions with anti-Semitism. Dialogue and debate needs to be focused on the substantive issues at hand and should recognize the complexity of the challenges and historical context of the region.” 

WASHINGTON—Today, a bipartisan group of members of Congress reintroduced legislation that would focus America’s diplomatic, development, and security efforts on preventing the root causes of violence and instability in countries around the world. The Global Fragility Act, which passed the House last Congress, would require the Department of State, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of Defense to coordinate on a global initiative aimed at stabilizing conflict affected areas and preventing the violence and fragility that allow terrorists, criminal networks, and war lords to take hold in the first place.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Chairman of the Armed Services Committee; Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), Vice Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA), Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment; and Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL), Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade.

“When we help countries become stronger and more stable, we make it harder for terrorists, criminals, and other violent groups to put down roots. That makes the United States and our partners safer. In the years since 9/11, we’ve all seen what can happen when we don’t take that preventive, holistic approach to our engagement abroad,” said Rep. Engel.  “I’m pleased to be joining my colleagues to reintroduce this bipartisan legislation to focus our diplomatic, development, and security efforts on meeting this challenge.”

Rep. McCaul said, “Violent conflict and instability is costing the global economy trillions of dollars annually and generating fertile recruiting grounds for terrorists and transnational criminal organizations. The bipartisan Global Fragility Act confronts these threats by targeting the root causes of fragility such as extreme poverty, lack of economic opportunity, and weak governance. The U.S. must prioritize conflict prevention and better leverage our assistance dollars to support fragile states on a path towards long-term stability and resilience. This legislation provides a whole of government approach to address the drivers of fragility in priority countries and regions. I am proud to advance this critical legislation with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to tackle the problem head on and promote stability around the world.”

“The Global Fragility Act represents a significant step in bringing the defense, diplomatic, and development communities of the United States together to help address the root causes of violence and fragility. Instability in the form of conflict, famine, and disease around the world continues to foster extremism and leads to the displacement of millions of people. Better coordination within the U.S. government, and with civil society and international partners, is critical to tackling the complex challenge of preventing and reducing extremism around the world,” said Rep. Smith.

“The Global Fragility Act would better orient America's diplomatic efforts toward protecting vulnerable populations living in conflict-affected areas. The legislation authorizes the Complex Crises Fund, a critical global account I have long supported that enables the United States to respond swiftly and efficiently to unforeseen crises when funding gaps occur. Conflict fuels humanitarian crises and instability, which can allow violent groups to develop strongholds. Prevention of conflict abroad also leads to a safer America at home. I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan legislation that will strengthen our efforts to prevent global violence and fragility before it occurs,” said Rep. Wagner.

“As we know all too well from terrible attacks on the U.S. and our allies in recent decades, we are less safe here at home when systemic violence and instability takes hold around the world,” said Rep. Keating. “The Global Fragility Act is a critical piece of U.S. national security policy to tackle this reality by addressing the root causes of situations that leave communities around the world vulnerable to conflict and extremism. This legislation requires an interagency strategy and investments so that our resources are coordinated to have the greatest possible impact, and so that we learn as much as possible about how to best combat systemic violence and fragility. Time and again, our research has shown that focusing on fragility is a much more effective way to create more sustainable peace and security around the world, which is why I am proud to again be a lead cosponsor of the Global Fragility Act.” 

Rep. Rooney stated, “It is imperative that all necessary federal agencies collaborate to address the underlying factors that breed conflict and violence in fragile countries around the world. As we have seen here in the Western Hemisphere, the effects of these vulnerabilities transcend borders in the form of the displacement and drug trafficking crises we face today. The Global Fragility Act fosters this collaboration so that we can help these fragile countries around the world better combat the challenges they face and to root out violence and extremism.”

Full text of the Global Fragility Act (H.R. 1580), can be found here.

Today, four House Committee Chairs sent a letter to President Trump expressing concerns and raising questions about recent reports that the National Security Council (NSC) plans to assemble a secret panel to counter the scientific consensus on climate change and question its impacts on the national security of the United States.

The letter was sent by Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA), Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Natural Resources Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), and Science, Space, and Technology Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX).

“The decision to convene this NSC panel represents yet another action by your Administration in a line of many that run counter to the overwhelming scientific consensus on the causes and impacts of climate change,” wrote the four Committee Chairs. “Given the previous statements you have made that fly in the face of explicit scientific evidence and the findings of your own DoD and Director of National Intelligence, we have serious concerns about any effort to construct a secret committee to question the basic scientific fact of climate change.”

The letter also highlights concerns about the reported involvement of Dr. William Happer, who appears to be leading the efforts to undermine the consensus regarding the national security implications of climate change. 

“Dr. Happer does not have the qualifications to serve on a working group that should be composed of climate scientists, if it is to exist at all. Dr. Happer is an atomic physicist, not an expert on climate, and his statements on climate change have been repeatedly debunked by actual climate scientists,” the Committee Chairs continued.

The full text of the letter can be found here.