Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after the Navy concluded an additional investigation of the COVID-19 outbreak aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt:

“The severity of the COVID spread on the Roosevelt, coupled with the fact that it was the first major outbreak DoD faced, warranted thorough investigation. The findings in the Navy’s extended investigation makes it clear that the Navy did not respond the way they should have, or as quickly as they should have, to adequately address the outbreak.

“Everyone up and down the chain of command had a role to play in the inadequate response – including then-Acting Secretary of the Navy Modly. The Department’s civilian leadership portrayed Captain Crozier’s decision-making aboard the Roosevelt as the critical weakness in the Navy’s response, but the truth is that civilian leadership was also to blame.

“In order to better understand the full range of mistakes that were made throughout the entire chain of command, the House Armed Services Committee has launched an investigation into the COVID-19 outbreak aboard the Roosevelt.

“While the committee works on our own investigation, it is my hope that the Navy will learn from this series of mistakes. Modly’s incredibly poor decision to relieve Captain Crozier because of an email was only made worse by his equally poor decision to visit the ship and berate the commander after he left. Modly’s bad decision-making underscores the importance of sound civilian leadership at the Department. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. The Navy and DoD will continue to grapple with the challenges presented by the pandemic for months to come. Civilian leadership at the Department of the Defense is crucial to our national security, and as such they must be held accountable as we move forward.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement today on the Supreme Court ruling against the Trump administration’s challenge to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:

“The Supreme Court’s decision to reject the Trump Administration’s effort to rescind the DACA program is a win for DREAMers and all Americans. The President’s attempt to immediately end the program was yet another dangerous attack in the Administration’s incessant anti-immigration agenda.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling was made possible by the strength and efforts of the hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients who fought to build lives in the country that is and always has been home. DREAMers are our neighbors, colleagues and friends, and we all benefit from their contributions to our nation as a result of this life-changing program.

“While this ruling provides temporary relief, we must continue to fight for DREAMers and creating a permanent path to citizenship building upon the protections provided by the DACA program. The Senate must pass the Dream and Promise Act to ensure DACA recipients contributing to our communities finally have a path to citizenship.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement today on President Trump’s Executive Order on policing and law enforcement:

“The President’s Executive Order takes a weak approach to addressing policing and fails to contain even the most basic measures to effectively reform and set new law enforcement standards. The Executive Order lacks any meaningful, mandated steps to enhance accountability for police misconduct amidst this epidemic of racial injustice and police brutality that disproportionately impacts Black Americans across the country.

“I am proud to join my colleagues on the Congressional Black Caucus who introduced the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act which takes bold steps to address police brutality, to end racial profiling, to ban police chokeholds and no-knock warrants, and to hold police accountable by ending qualified immunity for law enforcement. This legislation will fundamentally change policing and substantively address systemic racism – there must be accountability and transparency.

"While our nation is still suffering from the enduring impacts of systemic racism, we must take courageous steps to help our communities heal and make unprecedented changes that ensure each and every person is protected."

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement today after the Supreme Court ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ individuals from workplace discrimination:

“Today, the Supreme Court recognized that discrimination in the workplace based on gender identity or sexual orientation is prohibited under federal civil rights law. This is a historic victory in the fight for equality for LGBTQ people in our country.

“While this ruling reinforces areas of the law where Congress has already prohibited discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, there are still areas that lack these protections. Last year, the House passed the Equality Act, which would address significant gaps in federal civil rights laws and further improve protections for everyone. It is overdue for the Senate to take up this legislation.

“Although historic, this ruling is only one step in the fight to eliminate the barriers to equality and opportunity for everyone. I remain committed to working to enact policies ensuring equality for LGBTQ people and their families.”

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Funding will help enhance freight movement and economic competitiveness, decrease congestion

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D, WA-09), U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the Ranking Member of the Senate transportation committee, and Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and U.S. Representatives Denny Heck (D, WA-10), Derek Kilmer (D, WA-06), Pramila Jayapal (D, WA-07), and Kim Schrier, M.D., (D, WA-08) announced today that the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will receive $73.6 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) INFRA grant program for the Puget Sound Gateway Program freight infrastructure project.

"Investments in our infrastructure support continued economic development and provide job opportunities throughout the Puget Sound region," said Representative Smith. "This $73 million grant for the Puget Sound Gateway Project will fund desperately needed improvements to major highways that will improve regional mobility, spur economic growth, and enhance sustainability and safety. I look forward to the Washington State Department of Transportation’s continued progress on this project that will benefit millions of people in the state of Washington."

“This investment couldn't come at a better time,” Senator Cantwell said. “Freight movement and congestion have plagued Puget Sound for years and with the West Seattle bridge down, alternative routes for freight are an even bigger priority. The $73 million dollar Gateway Program investment will establish an actual freight corridor along SR 167 and SR 509 to help agricultural products and manufactured goods get to port without going on I-5.”

“From the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma to agricultural hubs in Central and Eastern Washington, this funding will reverberate across Washington state by helping facilitate the transport of goods, reduce congestion, and keep our state competitive in an increasingly global economy,” Senator Murray said. “I’m excited to see the positive impact that this project will have in Puget Sound and beyond, and I’m going to continue to fight for Washington state’s transportation and infrastructure priorities at the federal level.”

“Our state has invested more than $1.5 billion in the Puget Sound Gateway Program because we know its completion is essential to advancing our economy and moving Washington forward,” said Washington Governor Jay Inslee. “Particularly as we grapple with an unprecedented economic downturn, this program is vital to supporting job growth and advancing our economic competitiveness — improving freight connections, regional mobility and airport access. We are grateful to Washington’s Congressional Delegation for their work in securing these critical funds, which will help us carry this important program across the finish line.”

"The completion of SR 167 has long been a priority of mine, as it will improve freight mobility to and from the Port of Tacoma,” said Representative Heck. “This will open up new economic opportunities for the South Sound and create thousands of jobs throughout the region. The $73.6 million in federal grants for the Puget Sound Gateway Program will help make our communities more interconnected and transportation more efficient."

“Increasing the federal government’s investment in infrastructure in our region will help speed commerce at the port, help our region move goods faster to their final destinations, and support quality, good-paying jobs,” said Representative Kilmer. “I look forward to continuing to work with local, regional, and federal partners to keep our economy moving.” 

“This infrastructure grant is an investment in Washington’s farmers and growers, workers and producers, businesses and communities, and our entire region and economy,” said Representative Jayapal. “The Puget Sound Gateway Program will directly support the Northwest Seaport Alliance, which maintains more than 58,000 jobs and processes the most refrigerated exports—including fruits and vegetables grown right here in Washington—of any trade gateway in the United States.”

“Washington’s economy depends on crops grown in central Washington that are sold across the country and the world,” said Representative Schrier. “For too long, farmers and producers in the 8th district have had difficulty getting crops directly to market. The Puget Sound Gateway Program will make critical road improvements that will make it easier to get central Washington products to the ports in Seattle and Tacoma.”

“Building the ‘missing links’ of SR 509 and SR 167 to the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma will save time and money getting our products to trading partners throughout the world,” said Roger Millar, Washington’s Secretary of Transportation. “This federal grant, along with state and local contributions, will help close these key gaps in the nation’s freight highway network.”

The Puget Sound Gateway Program combines two smaller freight-focused transportation projects: extending SR 509 in King County and extending SR 167 in Pierce County. The extension of SR 509 will allow for a north-south alternative through Seattle and South King County, while forming a new southern access point for passengers and air cargo accessing Sea-Tac Airport. This addition will also provide an alternative route to I-5 from West Seattle, which is needed with the current closure of the West Seattle Bridge.

The SR 167 project will extend the highway from Puyallup into the Port of Tacoma, streamlining the transport of goods between the Port and key freight distribution centers in the Kent and Puyallup valleys. These enhancements will promote Washington state’s trade economy by connecting the state’s largest ports to important distribution centers in King and Pierce counties, as well as creating easier access for producers throughout Eastern Washington. The project will also help promote freight mobility and ease traffic congestion throughout the Puget Sound region. The first stage of construction kicked off on October 1, 2019.

The $73.6 million award was made through a grant program Cantwell created for freight mobility projects, which she authored in 2015 as part of the long-term transportation bill, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act).  The grant program, now referred to as the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) Grant Program, is the first-ever multimodal freight grant program focused on freight mobility. INFRA grants provide funding for projects of national or regional significance including railway, seaport, and highway projects, such as highway-rail separations, to increase safety and reduce congestion.

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