Press Releases

Congressman Smith released the following statement recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty:

“Today marks the 50th Anniversary of Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty.  In 1967 the poverty rate was about 26 percent compared to only 16 percent in 2012.  Studies show that absent anti-poverty programs like SNAP, unemployment insurance, housing subsidies, Head Start, earned-income tax credits, and more the poverty rate would be much higher.  
 
“Even with these critical safety nets, too many people are being squeezed out of the economy because they can’t find a job or that they have one that doesn’t provide enough to pay the bills.  On the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty, we must continue to advance education and job-training programs, as well as policies that raise the minimum wage and extend unemployment insurance to move Americans out of financial insecurity and strengthen the middle class.”
 

Congressman Smith released the following statement on unemployment insurance:

“Despite consecutive months of job growth, our economy is still recovering from one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression. Through no fault of their own, millions of hardworking Americans continue to struggle to find employment.  Yet, even with rates of long-term unemployed Americans near historic highs, federal unemployment insurance is set to expire three days after Christmas for 24,400 Washingtonians and for 40,000 more in the first half of 2014 if Congress does not act. That is unacceptable.
 
“Unemployment insurance benefits provide essential support for individuals and families while they are searching for work. Congress should extend unemployment benefits for hardworking Americans, not stand idly by as they expire.”


Congressman Adam Smith, Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following the budget agreement passed the House of Representatives:

“This budget deal, while not perfect, is a small step forward. It provides two years of relief from sequestration for the Department of Defense as well as other vitally important portions of the discretionary budget, such as education, technology, housing, transportation and Head Start.  Sequestration has been wreaking havoc on these critical programs, and this deal provides some relief.

“The deal also provides some space for Congress to begin to function normally again.  It will help to avert political standoffs that threaten to shut the government down and it will offer some much-needed support for our government and economy.  I am hopeful that greater certainty will allow us to focus on what is important for the American people, such as policies that support the middle class and grow our economy.

“Today’s budget deal marks a beginning, not an end.  There is much more work to be done. Our debt and deficit are still unsustainable in the long-term, and we desperately need forward thinking policies that continue to address our budget issues in a comprehensive way that raises revenue and reduces spending.  I thank Senator Patty Murray and Representative Paul Ryan for working in a bipartisan way, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to find long-term solutions that reflect our priorities of making a stronger middle class and expanding economic opportunity.”

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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement after the House passed the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act:

“I want to thank Chairman McKeon, all members of the House of Representatives and staff for their hard work on this important piece of legislation.

“While this bill is not perfect, it makes progress in several key areas and it prioritizes our troops deployed in Afghanistan, and around the world, by ensuring that they have the tools and resources they need to do their job and ensure national security.

“Now that the House has acted, I urge my Senate colleagues to follow suit. This is a must-pass piece of legislation.  Currently, sequestration is wreaking havoc on our military. Employees have been furloughed. The department continues to be forced to function under a continuing resolution, which severely hinders its ability to plan and budget. If we don’t pass an authorization bill, the strain on our military will be taken to a new and unnecessary level.

“Without this bill, our troops will lose the incentive pay we provide them for developing the specialized skills that make our men and women in uniform the most effective military the world has ever known.  Without this bill, our efforts in Afghanistan will be harmed, making it difficult to draw down our presence and hand responsibility for security to the Afghan government. Not passing the bill would disrupt acquisition and shipbuilding programs, wasting vital taxpayer dollars. At a crucial time, not passing the bill would also restrict our ability to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, and prevent changes in law that would help combat sexual assault in the military.  These are just some of the negative effects of not passing the National Defense Authorization Act this year.

“The bill took a difficult course this year, and we must get back to a normal process, but I believe that all members have had the opportunity to shape the outcome. Given the firm dedication of all parties involved, I believe that we have found a way to get this bill to the President’s desk and I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to move quickly on this important piece of legislation.”

Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement on the budget agreement:

“It is critical that Congress  functions more effectively.  We have a tremendous amount of work to do to grow our economy, create jobs, get our deficit under control, and strengthen our middle class, but we cannot do so moving from one crisis to another. This deal is far from perfect, but it provides relief from sequestration for critical education, housing, and transportation programs. It is a step in the right direction to get Congress back on track and focused on what is important to the American people.  I thank Senator Patty Murray and Representative Paul Ryan for their hard work and willingness to compromise. This is only the beginning. Far more work remains to be done."