Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after reports by The Washington Post highlighted that the Department of Defense repurposed funds allocated for pandemic relief.

“Today’s reporting confirms once again that the Trump Administration continues to exploit the trust of the American people. The congressional allocation of $1 billion under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act of 2020 (CARES Act), was intended to increase the short-term and long-term domestic production of critically needed medical supplies and equipment. Instead of focusing on a clear, coordinated strategy to produce and acquire the medical supplies necessary to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, the Trump Administration carved up this billion-dollar appropriation and spent three dollars on defense contracts for every dollar it spent on acquiring health resources.

“I’ve long said that the Pentagon’s budget, which has continued to surge over time, is more than adequate to meet DoD’s operational needs. It is alarming that they have not properly aligned their spending with strategic priorities and continue to ask for more. DoD has requested an additional $5.3 billion for Defense Production Act Title III investments without providing a properly detailed spend plan.

“Our nation is counting on bold actions to bring us out of the grips of the pandemic crisis. With the safety and lives of our health care, first responder, and essential workforces at stake, the Department must be held accountable to administer the funding in the way Congress intended.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement after President Trump announced he would nominate a candidate to fill the Supreme Court vacancy this Saturday.

“The President and Senate Republicans’ decision to move forward with a Supreme Court nomination flies in the face of precedent and their own words. 237 days before the 2016 election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that a Supreme Court nominee should not be appointed and confirmed during an election year. We heard this same argument repeatedly from Senate Republicans. Yet the very night Justice Ginsburg passed, 46 days out from the 2020 election, Senate Republicans decided that they would vote on her replacement.

“As we knew all along, Senate Republicans were never acting on principle when they blocked the confirmation of Merrick Garland in 2016. They are continuing to show their true colors by dismissing their own arguments from 2016 so they can rush a nominee through the Senate weeks before an election. It is important to remember what is at stake here. The fate of the Affordable Care Act, civil rights, abortion and women’s access to health care, LGBTQ+ rights, the environment, campaign finance, and more all hang in the balance.

“Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy will forever be enshrined in our country’s history as a pioneer for equal justice and ensuring that the most vulnerable were given protection under our Constitution. She has left a profound impact on issues such as gender discrimination, voting rights, access to health care, same-sex marriage, and countless more issues that represent progress towards justice and quality.

“Justice Ginsburg made clear that she wished a replacement not be appointed until after the winner of the 2020 election is sworn in to ensure that the American people have their voices heard. I urge the Senate to honor her final request.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement after the Department of Justice named Seattle, Portland, and New York City ‘anarchist jurisdictions’ as justification for attempting to withhold federal funding:

“Attorney General Bill Barr’s effort to cut off federal aid from Seattle, Portland, and New York City is another baseless, unlawful move by President Trump and his administration to use the federal government for political purposes and distract from his failed leadership. The law still applies to President Trump and Attorney General Barr and their attempts to withhold congressionally appropriated money blatantly violate the separation of powers.

“President Trump is distracting from real crises and his failed leadership by fearmongering. As the U.S. reaches 200,000 deaths from COVID-19, he continues to ignore science and fail to respond to the pandemic. The President has unsurprisingly only further divided us as protests around the country have demanded progress on racial justice and police reform. This latest campaign stunt attempting to hold taxpayer funds hostage from American cities will not distract us from the critical issues facing our country.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement after the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

“Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an exemplary beacon of justice. Her life-long work to expand the rights of all Americans has enshrined her mark on the history of our country and will serve as an inspiration for generations to come. Her leadership and honorable service have shaped countless lives for the better, and we are a stronger, more just nation due to her jurisprudence.

“No words can accurately portray the monumental impact she had on our justice system or describe her profound dedication to our nation even until her very last moments with us. We mourn the loss of her today, but we continue our fight for justice tomorrow. I extend my deepest condolences to her family and my sincerest gratitude to Justice Ginsberg – may she Rest in Peace.”

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Letter follows Governor Inslee’s request for federal emergency disaster declaration to address wildfire destruction in Whitman County that destroyed community of Malden, other areas in Eastern Washington

Members: “Washington state is experiencing an unprecedented wildfire season...these disasters have stretched our state’s wildfire-fighting resources thin and have further devastated communities impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the entire Washington state congressional delegation wrote to President Trump in support of Governor Jay Inslee’s request for a major disaster declaration for the state, as well as public assistance and individual assistance for Whitman County, following unprecedented recent wildfires in Eastern Washington and other areas. Additionally, with major fires continuing to burn across the Pacific Northwest, in the letter the lawmakers also offered support for emergency federal assistance in additional areas in the state impacted by wildfires that have cost lives, destroyed structures, forced thousands of families to evacuate their homes, and caused communities to lose power for extended periods. Led by U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA, 5th), the letter was joined by U.S. Representatives Adam Smith (D-WA, 9th), Rick Larsen (D-WA, 2nd), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA 3rd), Suzan DelBene (D-WA, 1st), Denny Heck (D-WA, 10th), Derek Kilmer (D-WA, 6th), Dan Newhouse (R-WA, 4th), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA, 7th), and Kim Schrier, M.D. (D-WA, 8th).

“As you know, Washington state is experiencing an unprecedented wildfire season,” the lawmakers wrote. “These disasters have stretched our state’s wildfire-fighting resources thin and have further devastated communities impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”

“These wildfires have forced the evacuations of thousands of people, threatened 3,000 homes and structures, and deteriorated air quality to hazardous levels. Even more concerning, these numbers are expected to grow as wildfires are still wreaking havoc on our state and acreage burned is approaching levels seen in 2015,” the lawmakers added.

According to the Governor’s office, beginning September 6, 2020, 39 new wildfire starts burned approximately 330,000 acres in the state. This total is more than double the amount of acreage burned in the state last year. In the five-day period between September 7 and 11, an estimated 626,982 acres burned in Washington, which is more acres burned than each of the fire seasons from 2002 to 2019, excluding the devastating 2015 wildfire season. In particular, the town of Malden, a small, rural community in Whitman County, has seen their community reduced to ashes. An estimated 80 percent of homes and other structures in the town—including the town’s only post office, town hall, fire station, food bank, and library—have been destroyed or seriously damaged. At the same time, many Washingtonians impacted by these wildfires are also navigating with the health and economic consequences of the pandemic. Individual and Public Assistance for this town, granted by a federal emergency federal disaster declaration, would provide critical and timely support, particularly for eligible individuals who have evacuated and are unable to return to their homes and community.  

Read the full letter below or HERE.

September 17, 2020

The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest
Washington, DC  20500 

Dear Mr. President:

We write in support Governor Jay Inslee’s September 16, 2020 request for a declaration of a Major Disaster for the State of Washington and authorization of the Individual Assistance Program and Public Assistance Program, Category B, emergency protective measures including congregate/non-congregate sheltering for Whitman County.

As you know, Washington state is experiencing an unprecedented wildfire season. These disasters have stretched our state’s wildfire-fighting resources thin and have further devastated communities impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Beginning September 6, 2020, 39 new wildfire starts burned approximately 330,000 acres in the state. This total is more than double the amount of acreage burned in the state last year. In the five-day period between September 7 and 11, an estimated 626,982 acres burned in Washington, which is more acres burned than each of the fire seasons from 2002 to 2019, excluding the devastating 2015 wildfire season. These wildfires have forced the evacuations of thousands of people, threatened 3,000 homes and structures, and deteriorated air quality to hazardous levels. Even more concerning, these numbers are expected to grow as wildfires are still wreaking havoc on our state and acreage burned is approaching levels seen in 2015.

In particular, the town of Malden, a small, rural community in Whitman County, has seen their community reduced to ashes. An estimated 80 percent of homes and other structures in the town including the town’s only post office, town hall, fire station, food bank, and library have been destroyed or seriously damaged. Individual and Public Assistance for this town would provide critical support, particularly for eligible individuals who have evacuated and are unable to return to their community.

Therefore, we fully support Governor Inslee’s request for a major disaster declaration statewide as well as Public Assistance and Individual Assistance for Whitman County. Further, with major fires continuing to burn across the state, we fully support any subsequent modifications made by Governor Inslee to extend federal assistance to areas not originally included in this request.

Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely, 

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