Press Releases

SEATTLE, WA – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), today issued the following statement after President Biden announced his intent to appoint Teresita Batayola, President and Chief Executive Officer of International Community Health Services, to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI):
 
“Teresita Batayola is a true leader in our region and a champion for the health and wellbeing of the Asian and Pacific Islander community in Washington State. As President and Chief Executive Officer of International Community Health Services – Washington state’s largest Asian and Pacific Islander non-profit health center – Teresita has been, and continues to be, a strong advocate for health care access, equity, and addressing social determinants of health. Her work has helped countless people, many of them immigrants and refugees, get access to affordable and comprehensive health care.”
 
“I commend President Biden’s decision to appoint Teresita to his Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, which will advise the President on the many ways we can advance equity and opportunity for every AANHPI community. The work of this commission will also be critical to our collective response to the disturbing rise in incidents of anti-Asian xenophobia and violence. Teresita will be a leading voice in these conversations, where she will bring her extensive knowledge and experience from her work in the community to the table.”
 
“Congratulations to Teresita on your appointment. I look forward to seeing all the great work you do for the AANHPI community across the country and in Washington State.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement after the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced a $395.6 million grant award of American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to King County Metro Transit in Seattle, Washington. 
 
“As the Puget Sound Region continues to grow, strengthening and expanding our transit network is crucial. The funds from the American Rescue Plan awarded this week will allow King County Metro to advance its mission of creating an accessible, affordable, and reliable transit system that helps the people of King County get where they need to go. Additionally, King County Metro has committed to move to a 100 percent zero-emissions fleet powered by battery-electric buses no later than 2040. This initiative puts us on a path towards a carbon free economy, and the funds announced today will help us move forward on that path.”
 
“As we all know, the transportation sector has been hit especially hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding will help King County Metro maintain service and retain jobs as we continue to recover. The riders and the employees of King County Metro will benefit greatly, as will our region.”
 
“The American Rescue Plan was signed into law by President Biden in March of this year and its impacts have been felt across the country, enabling communities to come back stronger from the pandemic. I am proud to see these funds come to Washington State. As federal agencies begin to distribute funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which was signed into law in November, and as Congress works to pass President Biden’s Build Back Better Act, we will continue to work towards our vision of an expansive, effective, and sustainable transportation system.”
 
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SEATTLE, WA – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement on the passing of former Congresswoman Jolene Unsoeld. 
 
“With the passing of Congresswoman Unsoeld, Washington State – and the entire country – have lost a true champion for women, children, and the health of our planet. Congresswoman Unsoeld understood that few things are more important than protecting our environment, and she was a force for women’s rights. My thoughts are with Congresswoman Unsoeld’s family and loved ones as they mourn their loss.”
 
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement after he voted to pass H.R. 5376 the Build Back Better Act.
 
“Thanks to President Biden’s vision and Speaker Pelosi’s leadership, today the House passed one of the most consequential pieces of legislation in our nation’s history. The Build Back Better Act will make transformational investments in communities across the country to improve the lives of our children and families.
 
“The Build Back Better Act represents an incredible opportunity to address the greatest existential threat of our time – climate change –while creating good-paying, unions jobs and building a sustainable, resilient economy. This bill is the largest investment to combat climate change that our nation has ever seen, with massive investments in clean energy and zero-emissions technology. The Biden-Harris Administration and Democrats in Congress have committed to making climate change a top priority and this legislation follows through on that commitment.
 
“This bill tackles some of the biggest issues facing individuals and families and helps grow our economy in a more equitable way, leveling the playing field for working families across the country. Build Back Better includes investments in, universal pre-k, affordable child care, an expanded child tax credit, and universal paid family and medical leave. This bill will also improve the health care system for millions of Americans by reducing premiums, lowering drug prices, and closing the Medicaid coverage gap. It makes significant investments in our workforce by making higher education more affordable, expanding workforce development and training programs, and enhancing worker protections. The bill will also help create a more equitable future by making large investments in affordable housing, alleviating the burden of rising costs of housing for countless people across the United States – including my constituents in the Puget Sound region. I am also pleased to see important immigration provisions included in this bill in an effort to keep all options on the table in the Senate for meaningful immigration reform. Crucially, these improvements to the lives of our families and communities are paid for by creating a fairer tax code – ensuring the wealthy and corporations finally pay their fair share.
 
“The negotiations and process to get to this point has certainly been challenging, and I appreciate the leadership of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Chair Jayapal to push for important policy priorities in the Build Back Better Act. Today’s passage of the Build Back Better Act in the House demonstrates the importance of the Democratic party coming together to deliver real results to the American people.    
 
“It is now time for the Senate to swiftly take up the Build Back Better Act so that Americans don’t have to wait any longer. Inaction by the Senate is not an option and I have faith in the President that he will continue to move the Build Back Better Act forward.”
 
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White House: Build Back Better Homepage
 
Speaker Pelosi: Build Back Better Factsheet
 
BACKGROUND: The Details of the Build Back Better Act
 
Investments in Clean Energy and Combatting Climate Change
The Build Back Better Act will invest $555 billion in clean energy and climate programs, the largest single investment in our clean energy economy in history. As our economy moves toward electrification, these investments will help clean up all sectors including buildings, transportation, industry, electricity, and agriculture.
 
  • Clean Energy Tax Credits ($320 billion): Ten-year expanded tax credits for utility-scale and residential clean energy, transmission and storage, clean passenger and commercial vehicles, and clean energy manufacturing to meet President Biden’s goal of reducing U.S. carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030 while creating good, well-paying jobs.
  • Resilience Investments ($105 billion): Investments and incentives to address extreme weather (wildfires, droughts, and hurricanes, including in forestry, wetlands, and agriculture), legacy pollution in communities, and establishing a Civilian Climate Corps.
  • Investments and Incentives for Clean Energy Technology, Manufacturing, and Supply Chains ($110 billion): Targeted incentives to spur new domestic supply chains and technologies, like solar, batteries, and advanced materials, while boosting the competitiveness of existing industries, like steel, cement, and aluminum.
  • Clean Energy procurement ($20 billion): Provide incentives for government to be purchaser of next gen technologies, including long-duration storage, small modular reactors, and clean construction materials.
  • Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund: Invests $29 billion in nonprofit, state, and local climate finance institutions that support the rapid deployment of low and zero-emissions technologies, including zero-emissions vehicles. At least 40 percent of investments from the und will be made in low-income and disadvantaged communities.
  • Environmental and Climate Justice Block Grants: Provides $3 billion to community-led projects that address environmental and public health harms related to pollution and climate change, giving direct funding to communities most impacted by climate change and environmental injustice.
Investments in Children and Families that Grow the Economy’s Capacity
  • Universal Preschool for all 3- and 4-year Olds: Expand access to free high-quality preschool for more than 6 million children. This is a long-term program, with funding for six years.
  • Affordable High Quality Child Care: Limit child care costs for families to no more than 7% of income, for families earning up to 250% of state median income. It enables states to expand access to about 20 million children. This is a long-term program, with funding for six years.
  • Expanded Child Tax Credit:  Extend for one year the current expanded Child Tax Credit for more than 35 million American households, with monthly payments for households earning up to $150,000 per year. Make refundability of the Child Tax Credit permanent.
  • Comprehensive Paid Family and Medical Leave: Establishes the first ever universal paid leave benefit for all U.S. workers, giving all workers an opportunity to receive up to four weeks of paid leave for new parents, workers dealing with their own serious medical conditions, and those who need leave to care for a loved one.
Improving Health Care for Millions of Americans
  • Improving Affordability and Reducing Premium Costs: Extends the expanded Affordable Care Act premium tax credits through 2025. Experts predict that more than 3 million people who would otherwise be uninsured will gain health insurance.
  • Close the Medicaid Coverage Gap: Make the Affordable Care Act premium tax credits available through 2025 to 4 million uninsured people who live in states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Allow Medicare to cover the cost of hearing.  Establish a hearing benefit in Medicare, a crucial benefit to our seniors for a reasonable cost.
  • Reduce the costs of prescription drugs: Allows the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate prices for high-cost prescription drugs under Medicare, lowering drug costs for seniors. In addition, it sets a cap at $2,000 on the amount that seniors pay annually for prescription drugs under Medicare Part D. The Build Back Better Act also holds drug manufacturers accountable by imposing a penalty on them if they increase their prices faster than inflation and stops price gouging on insulin by limiting the costs to $35 per month for insulin for Americans with diabetes.  
  • Enhancing Maternal Health Equity: Improves maternal health outcomes for vulnerable populations by ensuring that all pregnant people on Medicaid can keep their health insurance for the first year postpartum, while also making significant public health investments to reduce inequities in maternal health outcomes and strengthen the maternal health workforce.
  • Making Permanent the Children’s Health Insurance Program: Permanently extends funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which will ensure low-income children will always have access to quality, affordable health insurance.
  • Expanding access to home and community-based services: Invests $150 billion to expand access to home and community-based services (HCBS) to older adults and individuals with disabilities, resolve the existing backlog to receive these services, and strengthen the HCBS workforce by enhancing protections and increasing pay.
Investing in Workers through Education and Workforce Development 
  • Making Higher Education More Affordable: Increases the maximum Pell Grant award by $550 for enrollment at public and private non-profit institutions of higher education, the cornerstone of financial support for low-income individuals accessing higher education. Expands eligibility for financial aid programs, including Pell Grants, to certain immigrants in the United States under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).
  • Supporting HBCUs, HSIs, MSIs, and TCUs: Invests $6 billion to increase mandatory funding for Historically Black Colleges & Universities (“HBCUs”), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Minority Serving Institutions (“MSIs”), and Tribal Colleges and Universities (“TCUs”) and provides $3 billion for a new competitive grant program to improve the research capacity and infrastructure of HBCUs, MSIs, and TCUs.
  • Investing in Workforce Development and Training: Includes $20 billion in investments across the workforce development system, including community college workforce programs, sector-based training, and registered apprenticeships. Reauthorizes Trade Adjustment Assistant (TAA) programs to provide a critical lifeline to workers, firms, and communities that have been harmed by trade.
  • Supporting K-12 Education: Invests over $600 million in elementary and secondary education programs, including funding for educator training programs at HBUCs and the development of personnel to serve children with disabilities.
  • Earned Income Tax Credit for 17 Million Low-Wage Workers: Extends for one year the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit for childless workers included in the American Rescue Plan, helping millions of workers stay out of poverty and increase their take-home-pay.
  • Enhances Worker Protections: Rebuilds and expands the capacity of worker protection efforts at the Department of Labor with a nearly $2 billion investment.
  • Expanding Access to Broadband: Invests $300 million to the Emergency Connectivity Fund, which gives schools and libraries the ability to provide students, teachers, and library patrons with Internet connectivity and connected devices. Provides $295 million to establish a program employing public-private partnerships to improve affordable broadband service in urban areas, specifically in communities of color and to low and middle-income consumers.
 
Alleviating the Housing Crisis
Invests $150 billion in housing affordability and reducing price pressures, and will go towards building, preserving, and improving more than 1 million affordable rental and single-family homes.
  • Repairing and Expanding our Public Housing Infrastructure: Provides $65 billion to fully address the capital needs backlog of public housing.
  • Housing Vouchers and Rental Assistance: Allocates $24 billion for Housing Choice Vouchers and supportive services, including set asides specifically for individuals and families experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking.
  • Building and Preserving Affordable Homes: Provides $10 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program to fund the construction, purchase, or rehabilitation of affordable homes for low-income people, and includes $15 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund to build and preserve over 150,000 new affordable, accessible rental homes for households with the lowest incomes.
  • Historic Expansion of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit: Invests in affordable housing through a historic expansion of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) that is estimated to increase the number of affordable units by over 800,000 in the next decade. It better targets LIHTC investments for the most vulnerable by providing enhanced credits for certain projects serving extremely low-income tenants as well as certain tribal projects.
 
Creating a Fairer Tax Code to Pay for the Build Back Better Act
Below is an overview of the eight sources of revenues in the Build Back Better Act. Under this legislation, no one making less than $400,000 a year will pay one cent in additional taxes.
 
  • A 15 Percent Corporate Minimum Tax: Establishes a new “minimum tax” of 15 percent on all U.S. corporations earning more than $1 billion a year in profits. The minimum tax would be assessed on “book” income reported to shareholders, rather than profits reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  • Strengthening the Global Minimum Tax for Large Multinational Corporations: Ensures that U.S. companies pay a minimum tax of 15 percent on profits they earn overseas, as part of our international agreement to end the “race to the bottom” in taxing large corporations.
  • A Surcharge on the Wealthiest 0.02 Percent of Americans: Provides a new surtax on the income of multi-millionaires and billionaires – the wealthiest 0.02 percent of Americans. The surtax would apply a five percent rate above income of $10 million, and an additional three percent surtax on income above $25 million.
  • IRS Investments to Close the Tax Gap: Provides for closing the tax gap – the difference between what is owed to the IRS in taxes and what is actually collected each year. Provides that the Administration will invest $80 billion in the IRS for the hiring of new agents and modernization of the agency’s technology. The new funds will help enable the IRS to pursue wealthy tax cheats.
  • Closing Medicare Tax Loophole for Wealthy: Closes the loopholes that allow some wealthy taxpayers to avoid paying the 3.8 Medicare tax on their earnings.
  • Limiting Business Losses for the Wealthy: Limits the business losses the wealthy can claim to reduce their tax liability. For example, some high-income taxpayers claim their business losses against their investment income, zeroing out their tax bill. This limits the amount of business loss that can offset non-business income.
  • Tax on Stock Buybacks: Provides a one percent surcharge on corporate stock buybacks, which corporate executives too often use to enrich themselves rather than investing in workers and growing their businesses.
  • Repealing Trump Rebate Rule: Repeals the Trump rebate rule, saving taxpayers and seniors money. Among its negative effects, the Trump rebate rule increased the monthly Medicare premium that seniors pay.
 
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) introduced the Aviation Noise and Emissions Mitigation Act, which would help communities near airports and airflight pathways monitor and mitigate aviation noise and emissions.
 
“For far too long, communities near airports and airflight pathways have been left to deal with the harm caused by aviation noise and pollution on the local level, without robust federal support. Today, with the introduction of my legislation, that changes. We know that aviation noise and emissions have disproportionately affected low-income communities and communities of color. As such, we must treat these issues as a matter of environmental justice and health equity.
 
“While the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies have developed programs to address environmental justice, none are focused specifically on the communities – like those in my district – who are negatively affected by aviation noise and emissions. The legislation introduced today will help us to better understand the effects of noise and emissions in our communities and fund initiatives driven by communities to mitigate these effects on the environment, public health, and quality of life of residents living near airports and airflight pathways.”
 
The Aviation Noise and Emissions Mitigation Act is supported by Quiet Skies Puget Sound, the Beacon Hill Council, the King County International Airport Community Coalition, and the Quiet Skies Coalition (King County).
 
Original cosponsors: Rep. Eleanor Norton (D-DC, Quiet Skies Caucus Co-Chair), Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA, Quiet Skies Caucus Co-Chair), Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Tom Souzzi (D-NY)
 
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Background
Studies have demonstrated that communities near airports and airflight pathways are exposed to higher proportions of pollution and harmful particles from aviation emissions. This can lead to increased risks of breast cancer, heart disease, asthma, and a variety of other lung and cardiovascular conditions. In addition to poor air quality, communities impacted by aviation are increasingly subject to high levels of aircraft noise due to the uptick in air travel over the last several decades. A number of studies have found correlations between exposure to high levels of airport noise and poor health outcomes and negative impacts on children’s learning.
 
In order to better support communities impacted by higher level of noise and emissions, the federal government must invest new resources into research and data on community-level impacts and grants to mitigate these impacts.
 
The Aviation Noise and Emissions Mitigation Act would create two new pilot grant programs at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for studies of air quality and noise and for mitigation projects in these communities:
 
  1. Noise and Air Quality Monitoring and Research Grant Program – a three-year grant at the EPA for higher education institutions, health entities, or local governments to measure noise and emissions levels, and its impacts, on local communities. It would require grantees to collect data and produce neighborhood-level maps on the impact of aviation noise and emissions, the sources of the noise and emissions, and identify disproportionately impacted communities.
 
  1. Mitigation and Support Services Grant Program – to be established following the noise and air quality monitoring program, this grant program would fund initiatives to mitigate aviation noise and emissions in communities. Eligible entities including community-based non-profit organizations, local or Tribal governments, or local health departments could use the funds for a range of activities such as:
 
    • noise mitigation packages for homes or other weatherization, retrofitting, or energy efficiency upgrades that have noise reduction, environmental, or health benefits;
    • programs to promote environmental and public health in impacted communities; and
    • health care services or other interventions that address underlying impacts from aviation noise and pollution on health and quality of life.
 
The legislation would require the EPA to prioritize mitigation grants to communities found to be disproportionately impacted by aviation noise and emissions, and disadvantaged communities with higher prevalence of diseases associated with environmental exposure. Grantees would be required to demonstrate how their project addresses environmental or health disparities.