Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Representatives Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) introduced the Immigrants in Nursing and Allied Health Act of 2022, the International Medical Graduate (IMG) Assistance Act of 2022, and the Professional’s Access to Health (PATH) Workforce Integration Act of 2022, legislation to help alleviate health care workforce shortages across the country and reduce employment barriers for immigrants who want to work in the health care field.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated national workforce challenges in health care. We must do everything we can to support health care workers, combat staffing shortages, and rebuild our health care system. One way we can do that is by reducing barriers to employment for immigrants looking to enter the health care field,” said Rep. Adam Smith. “Many immigrants, including those with international medical degrees, face significant costs and challenges to becoming health care professionals that deter them from entering the field. These bills will help reduce existing barriers and provide funding for training, licensing, certification, and case management services for immigrants in the U.S. to expand access to good-paying health care jobs and build a stronger health care workforce. Our country is in desperate need of more primary care physicians, nurses, behavioral health professionals, technicians, and other critical workers who care for our communities. There are many immigrants who are willing and able to fill these positions – these bills would take meaningful action to make these job opportunities a possibility for immigrants.”

“Healthcare provider shortages have created care deserts. This is unacceptable. At its current capacity, our nation’s infrastructure does not have the ability to supply a health professional workforce to fill the current and projected U.S. needs. At the same time, internationally educated health professionals already residing legally in the U.S., including physicians, nurses, dentists, mental health providers, pharmacists, social workers, and other health professionals, are currently working as childcare providers, home health aides, taxi drivers, laborers, and low-skilled jobs,” said Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard. “I commend my colleague, Representative Smith, for his leadership in addressing this issue and I am proud to be working with him to introduce these three bills that will reduce barriers to entry into the workforce for internationally educated health professionals. My bill, the “Professionals Access to Health Workforce Integration Act,” or PATH Act would help to create a pipeline for lawfully present foreign trained health professionals to enter the American workforce with employment matching their health professional skills, education, and expertise. By facilitating the integration of these internationally trained health professionals into the U.S. health workforce, we will help increase our nation’s workforce diversity and contribute to improvements in the quality and availability of care for underserved populations.”

More information about the bills, including endorsing organizations, is below.

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The Immigrants in Nursing and Allied Health Act would help immigrants, regardless of whether they have any previous health care experience, get the financial support they need to enter nursing and allied health careers including nursing, mental and behavioral health, and other health care professions.

A fact sheet about the bill can be found here.
The full text of the bill can be found here.

The Immigrants in Nursing and Allied Health Act is endorsed by several organizations including Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS), El Centro de la Raza, Church World Service, Congolese Integration Network, ICHS, International Rescue Committee and Refugee Advocacy Lab, National Partnership for New Americans, One America, Renton Technical College, Sea Mar Community Health Centers, Seattle Indian Health Board, World Education Services, Health Workforce CouncilYakima Valley College, The Center for Disability Rights, The IMPRINT Coalition, Medicos Unidos Venezuela – USA, National Immigration Forum, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team, Upwardly Global, The Advocates for Human Rights, The Welcoming Center – Pennsylvania, and the Coalition of Community Organizations (COCO).
 
See below for statements of support for the Immigrants in Nursing and Allied Health Act:

“Utilizing the great assets immigrant and refugee residents bring to our communities is vital for our collective well-being and is crucial to help address our healthcare needs. Reducing the barriers to immigrants joining the healthcare workforce benefits everyone, taking advantage of their experience and talent to make for a healthier society,” said Dr. Kevin McCarthy, President, Renton Technical College.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the urgent need to address long-standing health staffing shortages and uneven access to care across the U.S.,” said Esther Benjamin, CEO and Executive Director of World Education Services (WES). “An inclusive health workforce advances equity and has been shown to improve patient outcomes. We applaud Rep. Smith’s leadership in introducing these important bills and promoting the inclusion of immigrants and refugees in the U.S. workforce.”

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The IMG Assistance Act would help reduce the barriers that international medical graduates face when trying to complete the necessary training and certification to receive a U.S. medical license.

A fact sheet about the bill can be found here.
The full text of the bill can be found here.

The International Medical Graduate Assistance Act is endorsed by several organizations including Asian Counseling and Referral Services, AMOpportunities, Church World Service, ICHS, International Rescue Committee and Refugee Advocacy Lab, National Partnership for New Americans, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, One America, Pacific Islander Health Board, Sea Mar Community Health Centers, Somali Health Board, the Washington Academy for International Medical Graduates, World Education Services, The Center for Disability Rights, The IMPRINT Coalition, Medicos Unidos Venezuela – USA, National Immigration Forum, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team, Upwardly Global, The Advocates for Human Rights, The Welcoming Center – Pennsylvania, and the Coalition of Community Organizations (COCO).

See below for statements of support for the International Medical Graduate Assistance Act:

“We applaud Rep. Adam Smith for his leadership in introducing these important bills, which will promote pathways to health care professions for immigrant and refugee workers,” said Mohamed Khalif of the Washington Academy for International Medical Graduates. “There are at least 263,000 immigrants and refugees with health care backgrounds who are under- or unemployed in the U.S. It is critical that Congress passes the International Medical Graduate Assistance Act and the Immigrants in Allied Health Act to ensure more equitable access to health care professions while at the same time addressing looming health care staffing shortages.”

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The Professional’s Access to Health (PATH) Workforce Integration Act would offer training and counseling opportunities to internationally trained health professionals who are U.S. citizens, or immigrants legally residing in the U.S. while educating employers on the abilities and capacities of health professionals who have been educated overseas.

The full text of the bill can be found here.

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Correction: A previous version of this release listed the Washington Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board as an endorsing organization of the Immigrants in Nursing and Allied Health Act. The correct name of the organization is the Health Workforce Council. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 7910, the Protecting Our Kids Act, by a vote of 223 to 204. The package includes several commonsense proposals to effectively reduce gun violence, including raising the age to buy and own certain semiautomatic guns, banning bump stocks and high-capacity magazines, and cracking down on gun trafficking, among others.
 
“On May 24, a gunman walked into an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas and killed 19 fourth graders and two teachers. Days before, 10 people in Buffalo, New York were shot and killed while shopping in a supermarket. In the days following these tragedies, many more mass shootings took place that killed several people and injured many more. It could not be clearer: America has a gun violence problem, and we are in desperate need of legislation that will keep our children, families, and neighborhoods safe," said Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash). “The scourge of gun violence has devastated communities across the country, and we must do more to prevent this senseless suffering. I am proud of the House vote today to turn this tragedy into action, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to work together to come to an agreement that will deliver real results for the American people. It is past time for gun safety legislation. Lives are on the line.”
 
Background
 
The Protecting Our Kids Act would:
  • Raise the lawful age to purchase a semiautomatic centerfire rifle from 18 to 21 years old.
  • Establish a new federal offense for the import, sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession of a large capacity magazines, with exceptions for certain law enforcement uses and the possession (but not sale) of grandfathered magazines; allow state and local governments to use the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program to compensate individuals who surrender large capacity magazines through a buyback program.
  • Establish new federal offenses for gun trafficking and straw purchasers and authorize seizure of the property and proceeds of the offense.
  • Establish voluntary best practices for safe firearm storage; award grants for Safe Firearm Storage Assistance Programs; provide a tax incentive to dealers for 10% of amounts received from the sale of safe storage devices.
  • Establish requirements to regulate the storage of firearms on residential premises; create criminal penalties for violation of the requirements.
  • Build on ATF’s regulatory bump stock ban by listing bump stocks under the National Firearms Act (like machineguns) and statutorily banning the manufacture, sale, or possession of bump stocks for civilian use.
  • Build on ATF’s regulatory ban of ghost guns by ensuring that ghost guns are subject to existing federal firearm regulation by amending the definition of “firearm” to include gun kits and partial receivers and changing the definition of “manufacturing firearms” to include assembling firearms using 3D printing.

A fact sheet of the bill can be found here.

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SEATTLE, WA – Today Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement on Memorial Day.
 
“Today, we recognize the men and women of our armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. All Americans have been touched by their service and sacrifice, either directly or indirectly, and on Memorial Day we solemnly honor that service.
 
“While today represents a special day of remembrance, our appreciation for these service members and their families should not be bound to a single day. As a country, we should never take for granted all that our service members and their families do for us. To all those who have served our country in uniform, and to the loved ones of those who have served: thank you.”

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SEATTLE, WA – Today, Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and the entire Washington Congressional Delegation sent Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) Administrator John Hairston a letter regarding the reopening of the Intalco aluminum smelter in Ferndale, Washington. The Members urged BPA to negotiate in good faith with Blue Wolf Capital Partners to secure a competitive power deal to reopen Intalco and restore the hundreds of good-paying, union jobs that were lost by its closure in 2020.

“When the Intalco aluminum smelter shut down, Washington state lost an important economic driver and source of jobs. Employing 700 union members, the facility was the only source of domestically produced aluminum west of the Mississippi River – a huge boon to our local economy and our nation’s aerospace and transportation sectors,” said Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash). “The reopening of Intalco would mean an influx of economic activity for the region. I urge BPA to work in partnership with Blue Wolf to bring these negotiations across the finish line and secure this win for our region and our country.”

In 2020, Alcoa shut down operations at the Intalco plant, one of the largest employers in Whatcom County, resulting in the loss of over 700 good-paying union jobs in the rural community along with significant economic activity in the area. Many of these workers were forced to take jobs with lower wages and benefits and commute longer distances to make ends meet.

“As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and work to forge more resilient supply chains, reopening Intalco is an incredible opportunity to bring back over 700 family-wage union jobs and restore the only source of domestically produced aluminum west of the Mississippi River,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to BPA. “Restarting Intalco would allow Washingtonians to return to these high-paying jobs, reinvigorate our economy, and secure our domestic production capacity to make aluminum in America for years to come.”

The Intalco facility also serves a vital role by helping ensure we can produce enough domestic aluminum to meet our country’s national security and critical infrastructure needs and push back against the Chinese government’s unfair trade practices in this sector. 

“Additionally, ensuring that the United States maintains sufficient domestic aluminum production is in our national security interests, as aluminum is used in defense, aerospace, and many other critical infrastructure sectors,” the lawmakers continued.

The letter was led by Washington Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and Representative Suzan DelBene (WA-01). Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Kim Schrier (WA-08), Adam Smith (WA-09), and Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) also joined the letter.

A full copy of the letter can be found here.

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SEATTLE, WA – Today Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) visited the Southeast Seattle Senior Foundation – also known as Brighton Development Group – to see their affordable housing projects and discuss displacement and affordable housing in Rainier Valley. The visit comes after Representative Smith submitted a Community Project Funding request for $750,000 to the House Committee on Appropriations for consideration in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 appropriations bill to support Southeast Seattle Senior Foundation’s affordable housing and homeownership work in Rainier Valley. Rep. Smith issued the following statement after the visit.

“Rainier Valley and other neighborhoods in Southeast Seattle – an area home to many low-income communities and communities of color – are experiencing severe displacement and gentrification. I was proud to submit a Community Project Funding request for a project led by the Southeast Seattle Senior Foundation, which will build affordable housing and create homeownership opportunities in the area for BIPOC and middle-income individuals and families. This project will take meaningful action to combat and reverse displacement,” said Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash). “Today, I had the chance to meet with the Southeast Seattle Senior Foundation and visit The Arches Apartments, a complex that the foundation recently fought to keep in the hands of the community, which helped to prevent the potential displacement of residents. I am grateful for the Southeast Seattle Senior Foundation’s leadership and dedication to promote affordable housing in the Ninth District, and I look forward to continuing to support their work.”

Upon completion of the visit, Curtis Brown, Executive Director of Southeast Seattle Senior Foundation, issued the following statement.

“We greatly appreciate Representative Adam Smith's inclusion of our project to build more affordable rental and ownership opportunities for our local families. This investment demonstrates a significant commitment to addressing the displacement of communities of color in a real and tangible way by making sure every family can live in the neighborhood they desire. This funding is already helping us leverage another $400,000 from the community to buy more property and stave off further displacement. We will leverage this seed capital 10 times over and can’t thank you enough for this investment,” said Curtis Brown, Executive Director, Southeast Seattle Senior Foundation.

Find more information about the FY23 Community Project Funding Requests, including project descriptions, here.