Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2694, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act:

“Over 40 years since the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, pregnant workers still face discrimination on the job. As women increasingly become the sole breadwinners in their households and work later into their pregnancies to maintain their family’s financial security, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act establishes a straightforward right to reasonable workplace accommodations for pregnant workers.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic putting women and pregnant people at an increased risk for severe illness, the need for these protections is more important today than ever. This bipartisan bill protects pregnant workers from being denied employment opportunities, retaliated against for requesting reasonable accommodations, or forced to take leave if another reasonable accommodation is available.

“No one should be forced to choose between financial security and a healthy, safe pregnancy. Without clear, strong federal protections, workers and employers are left with an incomplete patchwork of state and local laws that leave many pregnant workers without protections. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act finally secures clear basic fundamental rights for pregnant workers by establishing their right to reasonable accommodation.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.Res. 908, condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment related to COVID-19:

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a dramatic increase in reports of hate crimes and racist incidents against those of Asian descent. Recent reports show a total of over 2,500 incidents of discrimination against the Asian Americans and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community across the country, and many more incidents go unheard and unreported.

“Misinformation and racist characterizations about COVID-19 has led to the stigmatization of those of Asian descent based on fear and xenophobia. This puts the wellbeing of our communities and public health at risk. We must remain unified and vigilant to combat this epidemic and uphold our resilient and diverse communities. Across the country, we must stand up and take collective action to quell the widespread anti-Asian American racism amidst this pandemic and beyond.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R.2574, the Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act (EIEA), which would restore the right of students and parents to hold schools accountable for discrimination in education, and H.R. 2639, the Strength in Diversity Act, which would support local communities in their efforts to desegregate public schools.

“Public schools are more segregated today than at any time since the 1960s, and our nation’s education system faces widening achievement gaps. Today, the House passed the first bills to address school segregation in roughly three decades which would take meaningful steps toward providing equal educational opportunities for all students and would enable individuals to seek redress when schools engage in discriminatory actions.

“The Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act would restore the rights of victims of educational discrimination, enabling the public to argue for equal protection and opportunity under the law.  I'm also proud to support the Strength in Diversity Act which would help provide students in every school with the same opportunities as those in our best schools. Recent studies have found an alarming trend of socioeconomic and racial segregation amongst K-12 schools. School districts that are willing to take on the challenge of reversing this harmful trend would have access to federal funds to support those efforts. This bill will offer critical federal resources to bolster innovative strategies to increase racial and socioeconomic diversity, helping fulfill the promise of equity in education.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement regarding President Trump’s disparaging comments about our service members and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

“The President’s fundamental misunderstanding of the military and his complete disregard for our service members – calling them ‘losers’ and ‘suckers’ repeatedly – are a disgrace to our nation and prove once again that he is incapable of performing the duties of Commander-in-Chief. How can a man obsessed with himself and incapable of empathy, a man who cannot fathom the meaning of sacrifice, possibly lead a nation?

“The President claims he loves the military, because it’s part of his political strategy, but when the mics are off and the cameras are no longer rolling he has shown his true colors. He has no respect for our military; he views our service members as window dressing for his cosplay of the American presidency. Why does he refuse to stand up to Putin for putting bounties on the heads of American and coalition forces? Because he fundamentally does not care about our troops.

“It has been an honor to sit on the Armed Services Committee every year I have served in Congress. The men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting our freedoms reflect the best of our country: they are talented, diverse, and dedicated to the service of their fellow Americans. These brave patriots deserve a President who respects their service and appreciates their dedication. President Trump is obviously incapable of such respect.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressmen Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Ted Deutch (D-FL), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism led a letter with 38 other members of the House urging Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to hold Egypt accountable for its failure to meet human rights standards and end the use of arbitrary detention. 

“We urge you to utilize all tools at your disposal to hold Egypt accountable for its failure to meet human rights standards and bring to an end the arbitrary detention of U.S. citizens, individuals with close ties to America, and other politically-motivated detainees,” the members wrote. “We recognize the importance of the U.S.-Egypt relationship to help provide stability in the region. However, for years, Congressional leaders and senior Administration officials such as yourself have urged the Egyptian government to conform to the human rights standards we expect from partners and allies”

“Recent actions demonstrate that Egypt is still failing to take ‘sustained and effective steps’ to make progress in these areas. We ask you to make clear to the Egyptian government that closer security relations and bilateral ties are contingent on improving the human rights situation in Egypt.”

Politically motivated arrests have continued even in the face of international backlash. In January, U.S. citizen Moustafa Kassem tragically died after a hunger strike to protest his imprisonment and inhumane detention conditions. In 2018, Kassem had been sentenced to 15 years in prison in a mass trial. Lawmakers and human rights organizations have repeatedly raised concerns regarding the continued lack of human rights and due process with Egypt’s use of arbitrary detention and imprisonment, including the targeting of U.S. citizens and others with close ties to Americans.

The full letter can be found here and below.

Full list of signers of the letter: Adam Smith, Ted Deutch, Eliot Engel, James P. McGovern, Adam B. Schiff, Ruben Gallego, Barbara Lee, Jamie Raskin, David E. Price, Ilhan Omar, Donald S. Beyer Jr., Alcee Hastings, Jim Cooper, Ro Khanna, Susan Wild, Bobby L. Rush, Steve Cohen, David Trone, Stephen F. Lynch, Jan Schakowsky, Tom Malinowski, Cheri Bustos, Alan Lowenthal, Thomas R. Suozzi, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Maxine Waters, Gerald E. Connolly, Rashida Tlaib Betty McCollum, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Pramila Jayapal, Adriano Espaillat, Juan Vargas, William R. Keating, Karen Bass, Veronica Escobar, Lois Frankel, Emanuel Cleaver, II, Brenda Lawrence, Gregory W. Meeks.

Dear Secretary Pompeo:

We write to raise significant concerns regarding the continued lack of human rights and due process with Egypt’s use of arbitrary detention and imprisonment, including the targeting of U.S. citizens and others with close ties to Americans. We urge you to utilize all tools at your disposal to hold Egypt accountable for its failure to meet human rights standards and bring to an end the arbitrary detention of U.S. citizens, individuals with close ties to America, and other politically-motivated detainees.

Politically motivated arrests have continued even in the face of international backlash. Earlier this summer, the family of Egyptian-American citizen and human rights activist Mohamed Soltan was targeted by Egyptian security forces in raids and several of his relatives have been arrested. In June, Nora Younis, the editor of the news website Al-Manassa and a former Washington Post journalist, and Sanaa Seif, a human rights activist, were both arrested. Seif and Soltan’s family members, including Soltan’s father, remain imprisoned.  Egypt has also still not adequately resolved the case of American April Corley who was injured in a horrific attack by the Egyptian military in 2015.

While we were heartened to see the release of U.S. citizens Mohamed Amashah and Reem Desouky earlier this year, the continued arbitrary detention and imprisonment of individuals is unacceptable. Amashah was detained for 486 days and Desouky for 301 days before being released. Their release followed the tragic death of U.S. citizen Moustafa Kassem in January of this year, who died after a hunger strike to protest his imprisonment and inhumane detention conditions. In 2018, Kassem had been sentenced to 15 years in prison in a mass trial. He was the subject of a letter to you from numerous members of the House in December 2018, raising the same concerns about human rights and imprisonment that are prevalent today. 

Ola al-Qaradawi and Hosam Khalaf in Egypt, a couple approved for U.S. legal permanent resident status, have remained imprisoned in pretrial detention without formal charges for over three years. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that their arrest, detention, and imprisonment lack a legal basis. Ola and Hosam have been kept in solitary confinement almost entirely since their June 2017 arrest with virtually no visitor access for legal counsel or family.

We recognize the importance of the U.S.-Egypt relationship to help provide stability in the region. However, for years, Congressional leaders and senior Administration officials such as yourself have urged the Egyptian government to conform to the human rights standards we expect from partners and allies.

In the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bill, Congress withheld $300 million of Foreign Military Financing Program funds until you certify the Government of Egypt is taking sustained and effective steps to improve human rights, release political prisoners, and provide detainees with due process, among other reforms. Recent actions demonstrate that Egypt is still failing to take “sustained and effective steps” to make progress in these areas. We ask you to make clear to the Egyptian government that closer security relations and bilateral ties are contingent on improving the human rights situation in Egypt.  

We stand ready to continue working with you to support efforts to ensure Egypt is advancing basic human rights.

Sincerely,

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