Press Releases

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.

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement after passage of H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019: 

“After years of silence, the House is finally taking combating gun violence seriously by passing the second common sense gun reform bill in two days. Since 1998, the “Charleston Loophole” has allowed more than 60,000 guns into the hands of prohibited purchasers; by allowing a buyer to take ownership of a gun after three business days, whether or not the required background check was completed. With the passage of the Enhanced Background Check Act, the House is closing this gap in federal law to only allow the purchase of a gun when a background check has been affirmatively passed. This is the type of action needed to stop the trend of gun violence and mass shootings, like the senseless 2015 tragedy at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Congress must continue to pass meaningful gun violence prevention legislation.”

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement after passage of H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019.

“Today, Congress has begun to address the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our communities. Passage of H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, represents the first step in enacting comprehensive gun safety reforms, by requiring a background check for all firearm sales.

"The evidence is clear: background checks work. Every day, background checks stop over 170 felons and some 50 domestic abusers from obtaining a gun from a federally-licensed dealer. However, in some states, those same prohibited purchasers can bypass these background checks by purchasing a firearm from an unlicensed dealer, or at a gun show. H.R. 8 closes the background check loophole, ensuring that under federal law, states that have not already addressed this dangerous loophole are required to do so. Washington state continues to be a leader in promoting gun safety and responsible regulation. With the passage of this legislation the House of Representatives has joined our state in taking a foundational step toward saving lives from gun violence. Congress must pass long-overdue federal gun legislation to prevent gun violence and keep our communities safe.”

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement in support of H.J.Res 46 to terminate President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southern border:

“The vote today to terminate President Trump’s unlawful national emergency declaration sends a clear message to the President and this Administration that the new House majority is serious about oversight and accountability. House Democrats are not going to stand by while the President abuses his power by declaring a national emergency to build his wall. This national emergency declaration is built on xenophobic lies and mischaracterizations about immigrants, and it is dangerous and wrong for the President to circumvent Congress by stealing funds from military readiness for his political agenda. I strongly support Congressman Castro’s resolution to terminate the national emergency. We will continue to fight this unlawful power grab.”