Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) led 22 members in a letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies requesting the highest possible funding be included in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 appropriations bill for Tribal Epidemiology Centers (TECs) and the Urban Indian Health Program (UIHP). Rep. Smith co-led the letter with Reps. Mary Sattler Peltola (D-Alaska) and Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.). These organizations play a crucial role in providing health care for American Indian and Native communities across the country. 

The members wrote, “UIHPs serve our communities by providing culturally attuned health care and human services, conducting data research, and collaborating with tribal, community, and federal partners. As this Subcommittee knows well, the UIHP has traditionally received less than one percent of IHS appropriations to provide a variety of health care and medical services to the 76% of the American Indian and Alaska Native population that live in urban areas. The highest possible funding level will allow the UIHP to adequately provide health care services to tribal citizens in our communities.” 

“TECs conduct research used to identify the root causes of health disparities and improve data-driven health care decision making in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. They play a critical role in providing disease surveillance and technical assistance to tribal and urban Indian organizations. TECs need continued investment in order to maintain their success and un-replicated services. We are grateful for the much-needed increase in FY 2023; however, we still have a long way to go to build up research capabilities in tribal communities. In the FY 2024 appropriations bill, we request highest possible funding for the Tribal Epidemiology Centers program. This funding level would ensure TECs can conduct epidemiology and public health functions critical to the delivery of health care services for tribal and urban Indian communities,” the members continued. 

The members concluded, “Increased funding for UIHPs and TECs is critical to strengthening our public health and primary care system.” 

Read the full letter here

Funding for the Urban Indian Health Program and Tribal Epidemiology Centers is vital for organizations like the Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB) in Washington’s Ninth District. SIHB is a leader in providing health care and related services to disadvantaged communities across the region, especially urban American Indians and Alaska Natives. The Urban Indian Health Institute housed at SIHB is one of only 12 TECs across the country conducting research and collecting data to inform health services, programs, and policy. 

Rep. Smith and the late Congressman Don Young led a similar effort last year that resulted in a historic increase for the Urban Indian Health Program budget to $90.4 million and a $10 million increase for Tribal Epidemiology Centers, which was included in the Fiscal Year 2023 government funding bill signed into law by President Biden. 


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representatives Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement regarding President Biden's Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget.

"President Biden’s FY 2024 budget released today will allow us to build on the historic progress we’ve made over the past two years. It reflects his commitment to grow our economy from the bottom up and the middle out and lower costs for American families and seniors. 

"The President's budget will strengthen Social Security and extend the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by at least 25 years, providing relief to the millions of Americans who rely on Social Security and Medicare and who have heard the threats from Republicans about cutting these programs. The budget will also build on the wins in the Inflation Reduction Act to lower health care and out-of-pocket drug costs and will make sure the ultra-wealthy pay their fair share in taxes. And, the budget will reduce our deficit by nearly $3 trillion over 10 years. 

"We have yet to see a budget proposal from Republicans in Congress, but they’ve been clear about their plan to cut funding for government programs and slash taxes for the rich and wealthy. Republicans need to come to the negotiating table in good faith to create a budget that works for the American people. We cannot default on our debt, and we cannot pass a budget that raises the deficit and cuts programs that American families and seniors rely on. 

"President Biden's third budget invests in the American people. It's the right plan to create an economy that works for everyone, and I'm committed to working with my colleagues to pass meaningful legislation that advances this vision."


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representatives Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) introduced the 911 Community Crisis Responders Act, which would create a grant program for states, tribes, and localities to create and expand mobile crisis response programs, made up of specialized service providers, that serve as a first response to nonviolent emergency calls. These programs enable communities to enhance public safety, deliver better outcomes for community members, and reduce strain on the resources police departments expend on responding to these calls.

“We must transform our approach to public safety to ensure that all members of our communities are safe and the most vulnerable community members get the care and treatment they deserve. Mobile crisis response teams such as Health One in the City of Seattle are crucial to this mission and have already demonstrated great success in connecting individuals in crisis with the services they need and reducing unnecessary interactions between police and community members,” said Congressman Smith. “Investments from the federal government are critically and urgently needed to advance this public safety model across the country and more effectively address the nationwide mental and behavioral health, substance use, and homelessness crises we are seeing in our communities.” 

“9-1-1 receives more than 240 million calls every year with a majority of the calls relating to mental health issues,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “I am proud to support this bipartisan legislation which will enhance and expand mobile crisis response teams to support our communities and reduce the strain on law enforcement resources.” 

A fact sheet of the 911 Community Crisis Responders Act can be found here.
The bill text can be found here.

The 911 Community Crisis Responders Act is endorsed by American Association on Health and Disability, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the Arc, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Drug Policy Alliance, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Mental Health America, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, Police Treatment and Community Collaborative, American Friends Service Committee, and Valley Communications 911. 

Statements of support for the 911 Community Crisis Responders Act:

“The Seattle Fire Department strongly supports passage of the 911 Community Crisis Responders Act of 2023. Civilian crisis response teams are rapidly emerging as a best practice for safe and meaningful field intervention in nonviolent behavioral crises in our communities. In Seattle, Fire Department and community-based teams alike assist thousands of people a year with de-escalation, safety planning, medical care, transportation, and social service connections. This bill will strengthen the field of crisis response and provide more resources for people in need.” – Chief Harold Scoggins, Seattle Fire Department
“As the Executive Director of a large 911 Center in Washington State, I applaud this bill.  Establishing resources to better serve the public in mental and behavioral health emergencies is long overdue.  When people call 911 for help, the appropriate resource should be available to send in the moment, not days or weeks later.  Standing up a new discipline of emergency responders, which this bill outlines, is critically needed today.” –  Lora Ueland, Executive Director, Valley Communications Center 911
“Mobile crisis response teams provide a timely and appropriate alternative to law enforcement when someone is experiencing a suicidal or mental health crisis and is a vital component of an effective crisis care continuum. AFSP applauds Rep. Smith and Rep. Fitzpatrick for introducing this important legislation, which will ensure greater access to community-based mental health services, supports, and resources in coordination with 988 call centers and public safety dispatchers, getting people in crisis the care they need, when and where they need it most.” –  Laurel Stine, J.D., M.A., Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
“Americans recognize our emergency response system is in need of repair. Not only have we created unnecessary stress and impossible workloads for law enforcement by asking them to respond to calls they are not equipped to handle, police are not always the right people to respond to every call. We need to let law enforcement focus on serious crime and ensure that calls that do not need an armed response are handled appropriately by specially trained crisis response teams better equipped to handle them. LEAP is proud to endorse the 911 Community Crisis Responders Act because it will provide the resources to enable the type of transformation in public safety that we need while ensuring responsible oversight into how the funds are used.” – Lt. Diane Goldstein (Ret.), Executive Director, Law Enforcement Action Partnership
“NASMHPD endorses and supports the 911 Community Crisis Responders Act as all states, regions and local communities continue to build crisis response, especially for non-violent emergency calls, for individuals in behavioral health crisis who are in need of being connected to services and resources with integration between 911 and the 988 crisis continuum.” – Dr. Brian Hepburn, Executive Director, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD)
"In Chicago, the American Friends Service Committee trains community members in mental health crisis response and de-escalation because non-carceral alternatives to police response are not widely available. The 911 Community Crisis Responders Act is a step towards our vision for a world free of police violence, where those in crisis are given access to resources instead of being put in danger." –  Mary Zerkel, American Friends Service Committee
"The Police, Treatment, and Community Collaborative is pleased to support the 911 Community Crisis Responders Act. As the national voice of the field of deflection, PTACC recognizes the critical value of mobile crisis response teams to safely and properly deflect people in mental health crises where services and support are what are needed most to help the person. To make this type of response more accessible and to coordinate these efforts between 911 and 988 requires funding. The 911 Community Crisis Responders Act will support this important next step in the evolution of how communities across our country deflect and divert people to treatment, housing, services, and care instead of using the justice system." – Jac Charlier, Police, Treatment, and Community Collaborative 


SEATTLE, WA – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

“One year ago today, the world watched in shock as Russia invaded Ukraine. Predictions at the time were bleak, with many saying Ukraine would last only days following Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion. 

“A year later, Ukraine stands. It has retaken much of its territory, including Kherson and Kharkiv. And, in its bravery and fight for democracy and self-governance, has inspired and united a worldwide coalition in its support. That in itself is a victory, though an incomplete one. 

“A key component of Ukraine’s victory thus far has been the Biden-Harris Administration’s unwavering support of Ukraine. The strategy is simple: Provide Ukraine with the tools to take back its territory and ensure the United States and NATO do not fall into direct confrontation with Russia. 

“The road ahead will not be easy, but the grit and determination of the Ukrainian people are its great national reserve. Ukrainians will continue to fight for their country and for free democracies like ours. 

“The next eight months will be crucial. We must continue to provide all the military equipment and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine that we can. Peace is possible, but only if President Putin is stopped and understands that Ukraine cannot be taken. The clearest path to peace is for Ukraine to continue to take back its territory from Russian invaders. 

“As Ukraine liberates itself, we must be ready to support a negotiated and just peace knowing that Putin cannot be trusted or taken lightly. I hope and expect that the administration, Congress, American people, and our partners and allies will continue to work together in that critically important effort.” 


SEATTLE, WA – Today, Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement regarding the recent violence in the town of Lascanood. 

“I am deeply concerned about the recent violence around Lascanood that has left many people dead and injured, and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Any targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure is especially concerning and must stop immediately. All parties, including Somaliland leaders, must adhere to the ceasefire agreement and refrain from actions that further escalate tensions, such as the continued mobilization of troops around the region. I urge the State Department and U.S. officials to continue to work with international partners and leaders in Somaliland to help bring an end to the violence, promote dialogue, and get humanitarian aid to those who have been displaced and affected by the violence. 

“I also urge President Bihi Abdi to commit to holding elections. Further delays in elections undermine democratic progress and stability in the region.”